Chinese hungry for pet piranhas

Tuesday, December 17, 2002. Posted: 21:19:36 (AEDT)

The deadly piranha fish, which strips its prey to the bone in seconds, has appeared at Chinese pet markets and even in an amusement park, flustering officials.

Although the name of the piranha in Chinese - "man-eating fish" - should be a warning in itself, it has been snapped up at pet markets from Guangzhou in the south to Shenyang in the north, China Daily reports.

In south China's Guangxi Zhuang region it has been introduced into an ocean amusement park as a new visitor attraction, the paper says.

It is unclear how the fish, which kills 1,200 head of cattle every year in Brazil, was introduced to China and achieved its popularity.

Officials are not sure how to cope with the problem, although individual cities have launched campaigns to curb the sale of piranhas as pets.

"Up to now there are no specific guidelines dealing with who is in charge of inspecting and quarantining the fish," said Liu Qing, director of the breed aquatics department at the agriculture ministry


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