Unlikely Allies Help Bring Amazon’s Largest Fish Back From Brink of Extinction

Nov 7, 2022

Weighing 440 pounds, the pirarucu is the largest fish in the Amazon River. It’s also been one of the most endangered.  

Illegal fishing is a big problem in the Amazon Basin. Pirarucu were overfished. Their populations were close to extinction. All the fish were gone from certain areas. That is, until those who rely on pirarucus stepped up. 

Carauari is home to 35,000 people. The people there compete for resources along the Amazon. Pirarucus are a big part of the peoples' diet. The fish’s meat is one of the area's main exports. Carauarians noticed that overfishing had caused the number of fish to decrease. So, they worked together to help save the fish. 

“We managed to get rid of fishing companies and invading fishermen by monitoring and management,” one leader told The AP. “There is no more room for them here.”

They also now have strict quotas on the number of pirarucus that can be caught per season. They made sure that nets used could only catch bigger fish. That way many of the fish, including egg-laying females, are safe.   

Their efforts have had a big impact. In 2011, the estimated population of pirarucu in Carauari was 4,916. In 2021, it was 46,839. That's according to the Associated Press. 

Photo by Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Based on information in the story, the biggest threat to the pirarucu population in regions like Carauari is _______. (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. climate change
b. overfishing
c. predators
d. all of the above
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