HULU TERENGGANU: Anglers flocked to Kenyir Lake for a shot at snaring the elusive Arapaima Gigas which comes with a RM10,000 bounty if caught alive.
Kenyir’s Sungai Gawi jetty was teeming with enthusiastic anglers after Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said made the reward announcement recently.
Kuala Berang Fisheries Depart-ment officer Mohd Zamri Che Husin said his officers were stationed at several fishing points to ensure anglers adhered to rules set by the department.
“For instance, we have to make sure there is no encroachment into no-fishing zones such as the Kelah sanctuaries and waters bordering the National Park,” he said.
Mohd Zamri added that several anglers had reported sighting the Arapaima Gigas, but none had managed to net the fish.
Foreign anglers had also indicated interest to join in the fray.
PR Sparks Communication (PR Sparks) had received enquiries from anglers in Australia, the United States and Europe expressing their keenness in capturing the giant fish dubbed the Kenyir Monster by locals in the area.
PR Sparks director Gerard Yeoh said the foreign anglers responded to e-mails containing The Star articles on the possible existence of Arapaima Gigas in Kenyir Lake.
“They don’t want to miss the excitement of seeing for themselves the giant Arapaima Gigas. It is rare to see such giant fishes in the wild,” he said in a telephone interview recently.
The giant Arapaima Gigas, a fresh water species, is commonly found in the Amazon and Orinoco rivers of South America. The fish is near extinct there.
The longest Arapaima Gigas sighted in the last two decades was slightly over two metres, whereas the Kenyir Monster was said to be as long as 4.5m.
Yeoh said the foreigners were more interested in catching a glimpse of the giant fish in the wild before the fish was captured and relocated to Kemaman Zoo.
“For them (the foreign anglers), the reward is a secondary matter and they are willing to travel here to see the fish in its natural habitat,” he said.