1 / 5
Read more Read less
Arapaima, approximately 150 lbs. See More Arapaima Pictures >>
Animal Planet/DCL

By Jeremy Wade

Where They Are Found: Rio Madeira floodplain lake, Brazil

Shallow, muddy and snaggy. Floods between November and June.

The Overfished Arapaima

You normally know if there are arapaima in a lake because you see them break the surface to gulp air. Some lakes look perfect, but you won’t see any fish. This is because fishermen came along when the annual flood was subsiding, just after the lake became cut off, and removed all the fish. This operation is done with military precision, the fish being penned in then driven into the nets or harpooned. Any that escape remain nervous, and are unlikely to take a bait.

And forget any idea that some lakes are too remote for the netsmen to get to. They will drag their canoes through miles of forest for a chance to catch this valuable fish, even though commercial fishing for them is now illegal in most places. The result is that arapaima are uncatchable in most of the Amazon. Your only chance is where they have some kind of protection.

About the blog:
More on
River Monsters