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Piranha-like fish caught in northern Romania

Máramaros/Maramureş county is facing an unprecedented alert: several fishermen caught exotic fishes, very similar to piranha fish in the Firiza artificial lake, located 10 km away from Nagybánya/Baia-Mare. Other specimens of the same species were spotted by locals in the waters of the dam, near the shore. The fishermen taught they caught piranha fish, but representatives of the Tăuții de Sus Forest Management Administration told that the fish is actually a species called Pacu, which could be mistaken for piranha. Piranha and pacu fish inhabits the freshwater of South America, not the mountain waters of Romania.

– Last night when I went fishing, I was able to catch myself a piranha fish in lake Firiza. I heard before that other fisherman caught piranhas. It’s a surprise to me, but I think of the consequences, because tourists bathe in this lake, and this fish is recognized for its ferocity and its sharp teeth – local fisherman told

The Pacu is omnivorous, but the piranha is carnivorous. While the very aggressive and dangerous piranha can grow to about 30 cm, Pacu fish, which can also be dangerous, can reach 1,5 m in its natural habitat. The two species have different teeth and jaw alignment.

While it is not known how the fish populated a Romanian lake, they were most likely released by a collector of exotic fish into the lake’s waters.

Vasile Pop, a representative of the Máramaros County Association of Hunters and Fishermen, told Agerpres that the presence of the fish in the lake can potentially endanger the fauna of the lake but also the tourists who might bathe there.

It is not the first time fisherman caught Pacu fish in Romania, in 2017 the same species also appeared in Danube river.

Title image: Locals are really afraid of the fish. Photo:

Author: Orsi Sarány