A Nanaimo angler reeled in an unusual catch at Westwood Lake this week, according to the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS): a red-bellied piranha.
According to a post on the COS Facebook page, the red-bellied piranha is a tropical fish and would not have survived the winter. The COS says that the piranha was “likely the release of an unwanted pet.”
The COS also added that this is not the first piranha found at Westwood Lake, with another caught this summer.
The COS emphasized in their post that releasing a pet or any other invasive species like this is illegal and can have harmful impacts to the local ecosystem. They say that any anglers who find unusual catches and people who have information on this particular incident should call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).