The saga of the dead Porpoise in the Clanrye River in Newry continues with the revelation that it could be classified as a 'Royal Fish' thus making the mammal "personal property of the monarch of the United Kingdom as part of his or her royal prerogative." The law was enacted by Edward the Second in the 14th Century.

The Porpoise stranded at the side of the Clanrye River in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The Porpoise stranded at the side of the Clanrye River in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

You couldn't make it up. In fact if it was April Fools day, it could have been a right ripping yarn. Whether the unfortunate Porpoise recognised itself as Irish or British or what coastline it swam up could be crucial in deciding if the royal prerogative applies.

Other royal fish include whales and sturgeons. According to Wikipedia "the king owns the head of the whale, the queen owns the tail" but whether this applies to Porpoises is anyones guess.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary a Royal Fish is "A whale, porpoise, or sturgeon caught near the British coast or cast ashore there. In these circumstances they belong to the Crown or, in the Duchy of Cornwall, to the Prince of Wales."

At present the list of authorities NOT responsible for removing the poor Porpoise lengthens and as yet no one has taken responsibility to remove it from it's watery grave in the Clanrye River. Perhaps Queen Elizabeth herself will take a trip over to claim it.