Via Jyllands-Posten (in English)
The pacu is a South American freshwater fish that can grow up to 25 kilos (55 lbs). It is related to the piranha, but is mainly vegetarian and has squarer, straighter molar-like teeth to crush fruit and nuts with. Believed to have been introduced in Papua New Guinea to aid local fishing industry, it is also believed to have killed at least one fisherman, who bled to death after being castrated by it. As Peter Rask Møller from the Natural History Museum of Denmark describes it, “In unclear waters, it can mistakenly go for anything that hangs and dangles. It can crush nuts and has very sharp teeth.”
Now, on 4 August 2013, amateur fisherman Einar Lindgreen caught a 21.5 cm pacu in the Øresund near the Island of Saltholm, just to the east of Copenhagen Airport. A stone’s (or nut’s?) throw away from the very popular Amager beach, that I used to visit all the time while studying in Denmark. Venue of the KMD Ironman Copenhagen event next Sunday. A swim that London 2012 Olympian Daniel Skaaning by the way will be competing in. It is only the second pacu ever caught in Europe, the other one caught near a power plant by the Odra River in Poland in 2002. The experts guess that this pacu can have ended up in the Øresund as the result of someone emptying their aquarium into the sea or nearby stream, as they are sometimes kept as pets.
But don’t worry, the experts say you should be safe, if you wear shorts and take care to not have anything dangling in murky waters. Fear-mongering me feels very safe, as I am about a thousand miles away from that thing. A nice swim to you all, next Sunday !
(Image courtesy of Thorke Østergaard / Wikimedia Commons)