More than 2 meters long and weighing as much as 130 kilos, the arapaima is not only the largest carnivorous freshwater fish in the Amazon region but is also considered a delicacy in Peru. Unfortunately, culinary delight all too often outweighs conservation. Because the animal shows up on restaurant menus more and more often, it is threatened by overfishing: The arapaima is increasingly disappearing from the waters of indigenous fishermen. There are no exact figures, so it is unclear just how threatened the fish is but a project by the German Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is now trying to protect the endangered fish: In the Imiria protected area, catching arapaimas is now forbidden. At the same time, the GIZ is working with the regional government to establish exceptions for the indigenous fishermen: If they respect fishing and closed seasons and help patrol the protected area, the local fishermen will be allowed to continue catching and selling the paiche.
A film by Carmen Meyer