A SUPER predator weighing 100 kilos and almost two metres in length has been caught in the Guadalquivir River, near the Alcala del Rio Dam, in the province of Sevilla.

The capture of this huge fish was reported by Ecologistas en Accion last week.

Until now, the catfish (siluro in Spanish) was only known in Andalucia in the gigantic Iznajar reservoir, where it was introduced around 2011 in a premeditated and illegal way in order to encourage angling tourism.

The continent’s largest freshwater fish, native to Eastern Europe, will devour anything below it in the food chain and can even lunge onto the water’s edge, beaching itself to feed on birds and small mammals.

This invasive species that threatens native fish already in decline, can grow to up to two metres long and can weigh over 180 kilos.

The pigeon-eating fish has a life expectancy of up to 30 years, and is easily recognisable by its two to four pairs of cat-like whiskers or barbels around their mouth, a broad flat head, and a slender body without scales.

Given their voracious appetite, catfish are wreaking havoc on Spain’s ecosystems and are included in the Spanish Catalogue of Invasive Alien Species, regulated by Royal Decree 630/2013 of August 2, meaning its introduction into the natural environment, possession, transport, traffic and trade is prohibited and considered a serious offence.

Fishing them is permitted, but if you catch one you then have to inform the Environmental department of the Guardia Civil, Seprona, and they come and dispose of it.

CATFISH: Image of six catfish, sent by an Olive Press reader.
CATFISH: Image of six catfish caught near the Iznajar reservoir, sent by an Olive Press reader.

The reality is, however, that Serprona isn’t informed and the fish is returned back to the water, even though this is forbidden.

Carlos Fernandez, professor of zoology at the University of Cordoba together with Ecologistas en Accion, have called on the environmental administration to help fight against these invasive predators, requesting eradication and control measures to be taken.

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