The arapaima is a native predatory fish to the Amazon river that can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds.
One of the monstrous fish recently washed ashore dead in Cape Coral’s Jaycee Park along the Caloosahatchee River, which runs from Lake Okeechobee west to the Gulf of Mexico.
It is one of the world’s largest predatory fish. Its scales are said to be as impenetrable as armor.
The arapaima, because of its varied and voracious appetite, is a threat to native Florida wildlife. It is also capable of producing hundreds of thousands of eggs during its lifetime.
But that apparently hasn’t happened here.
State wildlife officials ask anyone who catches or sees an arapaima or other nonnative freshwater fish species in the wild to call the Exotic Species Hotline at 1-888-IVE-GOT1 (1-888-483-4681), report it through the FWC’s I’ve Got 1 App or report it online at I’veGot1.org.
The FWC said to make sure to take a photo, if possible, and provide the location, date and time of the sighting. Non-native fish should be humanely killed and never released alive back into the water.
How the dead arapaima got to the Caloosahatchee River remains a mystery. There’s a chance someone had it as a pet and released it into the wild.