Photo of the Week
January 9, 2005 

     This week's photo is a little different.  A few weeks ago, they opened up all the gates at Madden Dam.  For those of you that may have worked for Dredging Division or lived in Gamboa, this usually means that all the floating vegetation from up the Chagres River heads down river.  Sometimes the heavy water boom that goes across the Chagres lets go.  The water boom prevents all this floating vegetation out into the Canal.  It is sort of corralled in an area where the Hyacinth Control people can dispose of it.  Well, the boom broke and let go during the spill and all the vegetation went out into the Canal.  
      But this week's photo isn't about the vegetation, it is about what came down with the vegetation.  As you can see in the photo, a very large and unusual fish came down the river. The fish is a
"Colossoma". Unfortunately, when it was pushed out into the Canal's channel, a ship hit it.  
      According to Dane Wiskowski (left in photo), "The fish was caught at the Oceanus dock by Gamboa, Dredging Division shop.  V. Madrid who is our Bos`n and myself hauled up the fish. Apparently it washed out into the canal after the big spill and got hit by a ship or boat and swam over up-side down to our dock where we caught it".
       In all my years fishing, boating and swimming in Gatun Lake and the Chagres River, I never saw one of these fish.  How or why it was there ?  Another case of someone dumping their aquarium into the Canal ?
        Thanks for the photo Dane.

Follow up message from a CZ Images visitor:

Hi; this is a great site that you have. I saw a picture of Dane Wiskowski holding a big fish that is identified as a Tilapia but is really a "Colossoma". These are originally from the Amazona and Orinoco rivers and were brought to Panama for aquaculture. I was working in Agriculture Ministry when these fishes were introduced to Alahuela Lake in the early 90┤s.  It won't reproduce naturally in Panama so not many survived.
JosÚ Maturell 


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