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Amazonian “river monster” discovered in the Caloosahatchee River – ABC7 News

What can grow up to 10 feet long, weigh 200 pounds and is armored like a tank? The Amazonian river monster, the Arapaima. You might have heard of it on the Discovery Channel show “River Monsters”. 
So what does a monster fish that lives half a world away have to do with Florida? The Arapaima could actually be closer than you think.
Over the weekend, a woman walking through Cape Coral’s Jaycee Park came across an enormous dead fish that puzzled her. 
The woman who first noticed the fish saw it floating in the water along the Caloosahatchee River, but it wasn’t until she snapped a photo of it with her phone and posted it to Facebook that someone was able to identify it. 
“It was bigger than my 7 year old. I thought that is nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was kind of white with a pinkish tail.” said Leah Getts, from Cape Coral.  “It had a huge kind of open bass looking kind of mouth. It didn’t look like anything I had heard of or seen before.” 
The floating carcass still had a hook in its mouth, resembling nothing she’d ever seen, but it wasn’t long before sleuths on social media had figured it out. 
“They were saying it was an Arapaima, and I looked at pictures and it was dead on.” she added.
That answer only brought more questions, like how a 5 and a half foot long amazon river predator ended up in the Caloosahatchee River.
John Cassani, an Ecologist for the Calusa Waterkeeper worries that the dead fish could mean there are more. 
“The primary concern with Arapaima is that they would become established and reproduce naturally.”  Cassani said.
He says as South Florida’s climate warms, the zones in which arapaima can live continues to creep north, despite an FWC risk study saying our waters are too cold to support them. 
“This risk study done on Arapaima was done close to 10 years ago.” Cassani said. 
Potentially opening the door for an aggressive, dangerous fish to wreak havoc on Florida’s Freshwater Ecosystems. 
“Obviously a big aggressive predatory fish is popular amongst anglers. But the risk to the ecosystem far outweighs the recreational value of the species.” 
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Copyright © 2022 Waterman Broadcasting
Copyright © 2022 Waterman Broadcasting
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