A giant air breathing fish native to the some of Amazon River basin found that arapaima already extinct some part and in other part of Amazon is disappearing from the waterways due to overfishing. In some areas, its numbers are rapidly dwindling. It’s not because its habitat has drastically changed.
The arapaima can reach 10 feet long and weighs more than 400 pounds, making it the largest freshwater fish in South America and the biggest fish in the Amazon River. It has both gills and a simple lung, meaning it can breathe underwater and at the surface.
But this unique ability makes it easy to catch
“Arapaima spawn on the edges of floodplain forests and come to the surface to breathe every five to 15 minutes, when they are easily located and harpooned by fishers using homemade canoes.” “Fishers continue to harvest arapaima regardless of low population densities.”
When the mature, large fish are gone, fishers use gill nets to harvest other, smaller species, unintentionally capturing juvenile arapaima and further threatening remaining populations.
Many previously overexploited arapaima populations are now booming due to good management. The time has come to apply fishers’ ecological knowledge to assess populations, document practices and trends, and solve fisheries problems through user participation in management and conservation.