Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Sept. 26, 2011
Rare Piranha Catch Illustrates Need to Prevent Invasive Aquatics in Texas
AUSTIN – A rare catch of a red-breasted piranha in a community lake near Houston recently illustrates the need for prohibition of invasive aquatic species in Texas waters.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials an actual piranha is a VERY rare occurrence in the wild—only 2 documented specimens in 30 years—and possessing and releasing live piranhas and dozens of other exotic, harmful or potentially harmful fish species is prohibited by Texas law.
Dave Terre, management and research chief with TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division, said the 23-acre Tom Bass Park community lake in Pearland on the outskirts of Houston where the piranha was caught on Aug. 27 remains a great place to go fishing and is completely safe to go fishing there.
“We strongly believe that this is an isolated catch,” said Terre. “Our biologists will do an electrofishing survey of the lake to confirm this.”
Biologists say piranhas are unlikely to be able to over winter and they will not reproduce.
Terre said it is possible someone held this specimen in captivity illegally and disposed of the fish in the lake.
Game wardens remind individuals that first offense for possession of prohibited fish species is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas, with a maximum $500 fine. Subsequent convictions are Class B and Class A misdemeanors, which could carry jail time and heftier fines. Anyone caught releasing a live, prohibited fish in Texas faces a Class B misdemeanor for first offense, and repeated offenses can bring state-jail felony charges.
If someone catches a fish that they cannot identify or suspect may be an exotic species they should not return it to the water, handle it with caution, and contact their local game warden or TPWD fisheries office.
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.