Piranhas found in Palm Springs' pond

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

PALM SPRINGS, FL (WFLX) -  A teen catches a piranha while fishing, and now officials are taking drastic measures to take care of the problem.

Ten days after the teen caught that piranha, Fish and Wildlife officials found another one. So that's what prompted scientists to do, what they call, a 'lake rehabilitation'.

Biologists are applying a fish toxicant to the retention pond along Lake Arbor Drive in Palm Springs. They're using boats and putting chemicals into the pond to kill all the fish inside.

FWC says it's something commonly used to fish management, and something that's necessary in this case.

We're told the fish will start dying in as little as 20 minutes to about four hours. And, while officials say it's unlikely there are more piranha in the pond, they don't want to take any chances.

"Piranha in schools are the problem because they will feed on native fish, and they will nip at the fins and feed on native fish, and that's what we're trying to do is protect our native species," said FWC spokesperson Gabriella Ferraro.

After all the fish start floating to the top, officials will collect them all and bury them in a landfill. Then, after two to three weeks, they will start putting native fish into the pond.

Officials believe someone dumped the piranha into the lake which is illegal; actually, even owning a piranha is illegal in Florida. You can get a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.