Arapaima, Amazon`s largest fish may go extinct: Study

Arapaima, the largest fish in the Amazon River basin is going extint in many areas due to overfishing, revealed scientists.

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Aug 13, 2014, 23:46 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Virginia Tech: Arapaima, the largest fish in the Amazon River basin is going extint in many areas due to overfishing, revealed scientists.

Measuring about 10 feet (3 meters) long and weighing in at more than 400 pounds (180 kilograms), these huge fish are disappearing from Brazilian waterways, says a new study.

A recent survey in the state of Amazonas, Brazil found Arapaima is already extinct in many local communities whereas in other parts of Amazon, its numbers are extremely low.

The findings of the study has been reported in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems.
According to study leader Leandro Castello, an assistant professor of fisheries in Virginia Tech`s College of Natural Resources and Environment, the reason behind the decline in the Arapaima fish is that they are too easy to catch.

“Bioeconomic thinking has predicted that scarcity would drive up fishing costs, which would increase price and help save depleted species,” Castello said in a recent statement. “If that prediction were true, extinctions induced by fishing would not exist, but that is not what has happened.”
The researchers interviewed 182 local fishermen in 81 Amazon fishing communities and found that arapaima populations were extinct in 19% .

The study also revealed that only 27% of the communities surveyed have management rules for fishing arapaima.

However, the good news is that the species is thriving in some communities where arapaima fishing is regulated.

Photo Credit: Sergio Ricardo de Oliveira