Angler hooks piranha

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A piranha has been caught in a river in North Carolina in the USA.

Jerry Melton, 46, caught the fish - which weighed 566g/1lb 4oz - while fishing for local catfish.

Melton told the Herald Times he had been fishing the river his whole life and had never seen anything like it.

"When I got it on the bank I didn't really know what it was," he said. "Catching something like that is definitely going to make me think twice about what's in that water."

Paul Barrington, an ichthyologist at the local Fort Fisher Aquarium, said that, as well as being illegal, "releasing non-native fish in our native waters is highly irresponsible because it could have a very adverse affect on the fish in that ecosystem."

Similar IncidentsThe report of this piranha catch comes just a month after two pacu were caught in Ohio on the same day " one by Tina Powell in Yoctangee Lake, another by a 10-year-old boy in a river in Cincinnati.

"Everyone down at the park told me I caught a piranha," said Tina Powell. The fish was later identified by experts as the closely-related pacu.

"He's in our bathtub right now swimming around and having a good time. Powell said. "If we released it we knew someone else would kill it."

Scott Hale, an inland fisheries program administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, at the time re-iterated the words of Paul Barrington " telling the Chillicothe Gazette that dumping these fish "can have a negative impact on other fish in the area and disrupt the natural habitat."

Furthermore, "when you release these animals in the north, most won't survive the winter," Andy Nelson, director of training at Petland in Chillicothe told the Chillicothe Gazette.

"Before people buy fish, you need to take into consideration the lifetime care of the animal."