China offers piranha bounty

Chinese city proposes cash reward for flesh-eating piranhas

Everyone remembers the scene from Jaws when the chalkboard-scratching mercenary Quint is offered a huge reward to catch the resident tourist-devouring Great White Shark. Well, in a Chinese city the authorities have been making a similar offer to daredevil anglers.

Following two local men being attacked by a piranha on 7 July in southern Guangxi province, the city of Liuzhou has offered a hefty reward for the capture of the dangerous fish.

The reward has been fixed at 1,000 yuan - approximately £101 - and applies whether the piranhas are delivered ‘dead or alive'.

The city authorities stated they believe the piranhas, which are native to South America and often found in the Amazon, were illegally imported to China. Officials believe that the ferocious fish were released by people that had originally bought them for aquariums.

When the two local men in Liuzhou were attacked by the piranhas, one caught the fish for identification and saw at least two others at the same time.

Since the reward announcement enthusiastic fishermen have taken to the water. The river banks of Liuzhou have been lined with rods and nets as amateur anglers try to hook piranhas and their 1,000 yuan prize. The government have even allegedly provided free meat to use as bait. The type of meat being used is not known. It could be dog.

So far plucky fishermen have caught many fish, but no piranhas have been discovered. The reason for this, according to scientists, might be that the piranhas are, quite simply, dead. It's been argued that the tropical fish would not be able to survive long in the Chinese river as water temperature in the area drops below 15C - far below the temperature of their natural habitat.

It has also been suggested that the local government might be doing more harm than good, as the fishing frenzy could easily end up damaging the river's ecosystem.

Check out the BBC video about the story below...

Whether you're heading to China for fish for piranhas and 1,000 yuan or just after the experience, check out our China country section.

After some gapper tips? Read James Mooney's Budget Guide to China.