A piranha-like fish was found recently in the White River–prompting a warning against the illegal aquarium release of exotic fish species.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources aquatic invasive species coordinator Eric Fisher says the fish is a pacu, a species that is very similar in appearance to the piranha.
However pacu are vegetarian in their native environment and do ‘not‘ pose a danger to humans.
Fisher says it was obviously raised within an aquarium environment before being released.
“A lot of people will tell you it will not grow larger than your tank and that’s just a misconception to sell more fish. These fish will outgrow your tank and you will have to find somewhere to take them,” he says.
Fisher says the pacu will be subjected to a slow death in these waters because it can not survive an Indiana winter.
The pacu can reach over 50 pounds and is native to Brazil, but has been turning up in places like Sweden and Denmark. Fisher says they are looking for food, and that is how people catch them on their fishing poles in places like the White River.