Illegal nets target spawning sports fish

This is a pez calva or snook, Centropomus parallelus

This is a pez calva or snook, Centropomus parallelus

This is spawning season for a fish known locally as the pez calva. The fish likes the sometimes brackish water of lakes and canals of the Refugio de Vida Silvestre in Barra del Colorado. And they come by the hundreds from the Caribbean.

These are game fish, but some individuals have been putting up nets to catch them. The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said that its crews over the weekend have found nine nets installed illegally in the refuge. There were ninety fish and nearly half were dead, the agency said.

The nets also managed to trap a few tropical gars, known here as pez gaspar (Atractosteus tropicus), which also can be challenging game fish when adults and up to six feet in length. The gar is considered a living fossil because it has not changed in millions of years.

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