Peru: Marasha Reserve – Pirarucu Fishing

We didn’t do any fishing in the Amazon or lakes, but a crew from a famous America fishing TV channel spent several days on Marasha Lake in hope to catch a legendary pirarucu fish. Pirarucu aka Arapaima Gigas is native to the Amazon basin and is one of the largest freshwater fishes on the planet. Adults grow to 200-450 cm (7-15 ft) long and weigh up to 200 kg (450 lb) – that is certifiably insane – imagine catching something like this. They are carnivorous and feed on other fish, small and large. They look totally prehistoric and bizarre (they are indeed considered to be living fossils, given that many of their characteristic are similar to prehistoric extinct fish species). Pirarucu have an elongated body in torpedo shape covered with super hard scales and a narrowing head (scales of adult specimens can be up to 6 cm long). Almost like humans, pirarucu need to breathe supplemental air every 10-15 minutes, so they come up to the surface and loudly gulp air). The fishing team spend days starching for air bubbles and then following the moving fish with drones until the finally managed to get it in a small area of the lake and use net to catch it. A fish like this can and does feed an entire village in the Amazon. Having almost no bones, it is considered delicacy. We did get a chance to try to the pirarucu ceviche! Sadly, pirarucu is getting scarcer and more rare in the Amazon and is estimated to be extinct in 19% of the original habitat, mostly due to over-fishing.