SI Vault
Edited by Douglas S. Looney
August 09, 1976
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August 09, 1976


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Now Kelbaugh wants money and he has contacted his Congresswoman, Marjorie Holt. Rep. Holt is asking the State Department and the Attorney General for help; Kelbaugh refuses to discuss the incident (details were provided by Marjorie Crain, Holt's executive assistant). Of course, there's a simple moral for sailors everywhere: don't ever, ever mess with warships.


For those of us who have trouble saying no gracefully, we can go to school at the knee of Muhammad Ali.

Seems that George Lord of Eau Claire, Mich. was in charge of a cherry-pit spitting contest and he wanted Ali to enter. Sorry, said an Ali aide, but while the champ would like to be in the spit-off, it would be against his religion. An "unclean activity," the aide explained.


In lovableness, the piranha ranks on a par with a cornered porcupine and a stick in the eye. Piranhas have absolutely no redeeming social characteristics: they ravage other fish, eat people and even cannibalize one another.

Small wonder, then, that the Florida fish and game folks were exercised when they discovered that 150 red-bellied piranhas had been imported into the state; by law they are prohibited.

By last weekend nearly all the two-inch fish had been recovered, including many of those which had been sent on to other states. Lieut. Colonel Brantley Goodson, chief of law enforcement for Florida's Game and Fresh Water Commission, says his people are getting close to identifying the outlaw importer, and the operator of one fishery that sold the piranhas already has been charged.

Ironically, the motivation for selling piranhas is not big profit. Rather, Good-son explains, what happens is that fish suppliers, mostly South American, find they cannot supply enough of the harmless red pacu, which the piranha resembles. So they fill out orders with piranhas, which sell for about $2 apiece.

Goodson says that about 30 million ornamental fish pass into his state each year through Miami and Tampa; another 60 million are produced in Florida. Monitoring, therefore, is difficult. And there are those anxious to skirt the law because they consider the piranha a novelty pet item, like, say, the electric catfish or a tiger cub. A piranha in an aquarium obviously causes great excitement.

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