Piranha-like fish caught in Meridian pond

Piranha-like fish caught in Meridian pond

This piranha-like fish was pulled from Settler's Pond in Meridian.

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by Kelsey Jacobson

KTVB.com

Posted on July 13, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 10:24 PM

MERIDIAN, Idaho -- A fish, not native to Idaho, with sharp teeth was reeled in from a Meridian pond Monday.

Kenny Espen was fishing at Settler's pond, when he caught what he believed to be a piranha.

Espen's wife sent pictures of the fish to KTVB -- and so we did some homework.

Evin Oneale with Idaho Fish and Game said after looking at the pictures of the fish, he doesn't think it is a piranha, but instead, a Pacu, which is in the same family.  Oneale said while the pacu does have teeth, it doesn't eat flesh -- but eats fruits and vegetables instead. 

Idaho Fish and Game told KTVB they see this kind of thing happen more often than they'd like.  They say the pacu was likely someone's pet, and that person turned it loose in the pond to get rid of it for one reason or another. 

Oneale said putting fish into Idaho ponds without a permit is illegal, and depending on the situation -- could have some very bad consequences.  The wrong kind of fish being placed into the wrong body of water cause concerns about diseases and problems when it comes to competition with other fish.

Settler's Pond, where the pacu was found, is what fish and game calls a "bicycle fishery" -- a small community pond that neighborhood kids can get to easily to fish.  The pond is usually stocked with rainbow trout.

Oneale said in this case, there is no reason for anyone to be concerned about the pacu.  Tropical fish can't live long in Idaho waters because of the temperature -- and the pacu would have likely died soon.

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