A Piranha was thought to be found in Wyoming Lake when Duane Jones pulled one such fish out of the water on his line.
This sent a scare through the local populace who were unpleasantly surprised and fearful that such an aggressive carnivore had infested their local waters.
As it turns out, the “Piranha” fish was really a Pacu fish. While it is nowhere as aggressive or dangerous as its South American counterpart, Pacu fish do not belong in Wyoming Lake either.
Pacu fish originates from the Amazon River in South America. They look like Piranha fish when young but grow to become much larger than them as an adult. They feed on mainly vegetation, and are much less aggressive in nature.
Experts believe that the Pacu fish is likely to have been released into the lake by fish hobbyists who have decided to abandon their fishes. It is illegal to release any aquarium fish or used baitfish in any water in Wyoming, but irresponsible fish owners are undeterred.
Releasing non-native fish to any water is an extremely irresponsible and dangerous action. The Pacu fish could have eaten the eggs of other species or compete with other native fishes for food source and space. The Pacu fish could potentially carry bacteria and viruses that can spread to the native fish, causing a severe outbreak and death of native fishes.
Being non-native to the water, Pacu fish have no natural enemies and will proliferate if given the chance. This could lead to serious problems if the Pacu fish become dominant species that displaces the native population.
The Pacu fish is a tropical fish and it would most likely die as the winter season approaches. However, it could have done much damage to the ecosystem during the time that it was living in the lake.
Moreover, the signs are not encouraging. Fishing enthusiasts have been reeling in Pacu fish several times over the past year. Experts suggest that the tropical Pacu fish could have found a stretch of warm current from a sewer outlet and was able to survive the winter.
If people continue to release Pacu fish into the wild, it would only be a matter of time before these fishes grow in significant numbers to become an invasive species. Once they have become entrenched in the water system, it is almost impossible to get rid of them. As of today, no aquatic invasion has ever been successfully eradicated.
So before you release a Pacu fish into your local waterways, think about the damage you might be causing.
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