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Crowds have flocked to Lyme Regis since 1974 to watch rival teams of nine men swing the giant conger eel suspended in the harbor by a rope and local residents said they are dismayed at the demise of their historic event.
Andrew Kaye, a resident and spokesman for the Lyme Regis lifeboat crews who raise money through the tournament, said an anonymous e-mailer had called the practice disrespectful to the dead eel.
"We decided that it really wasn't worth upsetting anybody by going ahead with using a dead conger," Kaye said. "But it's a dead conger, for Pete's sake. I shouldn't think the conger could care one way or another."