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Piranhas Found in Chinese River

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Published on Jul 12, 2012

Man-eating Piranha fish attacked two people swimming in China's Liujiang River, over the weekend. One of the victims, Mr. Zhang, had parts of his finger bitten off and bites to the palm of his hand.

Following the attack, local fishermen are trying to catch the dangerous fish using an old-fashioned method called banzeng.

They use a fishing net supported by several bamboo poles. A piece of of pork is fixed to the net as bait.

[Liao Bangzhu, Fisherman]:
"We'd put the net with the pork at around 30 centimeters below the water surface. When the fish rush to eat it, we will trawl the net."

There's a $160 U.S. dollar reward for every piranha caught.

[Xia Zanjun, Deputy Head of Liuzhou Fishery]:
"This is near the spot where Mr. Zhang was bitten, we assume that the fish are still around here, so we put the net here about 60 meters downstream from the spot."

Five fishing boats have also joined in the hunt.

[Liu Haijun, Deputy Head of Liuzhou's Fishery Supervision Agency]:
"This means the number of piranha might be rather small. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack."

However bloggers are questioning the environmental impact, concerned that harmless fish stocks will be depleted.

One Liuzhou-based blogger jokingly declared 'the people's war against the piranha has started'.

Some experts and fishing officials claim the piranhas may have been smuggled in from the Amazon as the climate in Guangxi is similar.

[Zhou Jie, Guangxi Fisheries Research Institute Expert]:
"Piranhas can reproduce very fast in environments similar to home."

So far there's been no sign of the piranhas but people are concerned as the fish have no natural enemies to keep their numbers in check.

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