Poochakkal, Alappuzha: The big catch of piranhas (red belly fish) from the Vembanad Lake has raised concerns over the consequences it could have on the ecosystem here.
Piranha, a predatory species that feeds on other fish and animals, is a fresh water fish native to South America. Rearing of piranha has been banned by the Kerala Fisheries Department, but it was being illegally kept by fish farmers in the state.
It is believed that the recent floods that inundated several places in the area led to the piranhas finding their way to the Vembanad Lake.
Piranhas are known for their quick growth, weight and taste, making them a favourite among farmers. Brought from other states, the young piranhas are grown in private ponds in Kerala.
With the exotic fish finding its way into the Vembanad Lake, they have become a common catch for local people using anglers. Few piranhas get trapped the nets of fishermen as the fish can tear apart the nets.
Known for their voracious appetite for meat, piranhas have very sharp teeth. With a lifespan of 10 years, they can prove to be much harmful to native fish breeds and the ecosystem of Vembanad.