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Pictures | Fri Dec 13, 2013 | 11:06am EST

Fishing for living fossils

<p>A night view of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. Catching the arapaima, a fish that is sought after for its meat and is considered by biologists to be a living fossil, is only allowed once a year by Brazil's environmental protection agency. The minimum size allowed for a fisherman to keep an arapaima is 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

A night view of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and...more

A night view of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. Catching the arapaima, a fish that is sought after for its meat and is considered by biologists to be a living fossil, is only allowed once a year by Brazil's environmental protection agency. The minimum size allowed for a fisherman to keep an arapaima is 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>A night view of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

A night view of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and...more

A night view of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Children of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community play soccer along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Children of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community play soccer along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South...more

Children of the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community play soccer along the edge of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, where adults fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villager Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community spears an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.   REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villager Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community spears an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villager Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community spears an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>A villager from the Rumao Island community holds a young arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, before releasing it back to the wild while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

A villager from the Rumao Island community holds a young arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, before releasing it back to the wild while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes...more

A villager from the Rumao Island community holds a young arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, before releasing it back to the wild while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes from the Rumao Island community clubs an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.   REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes from the Rumao Island community clubs an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes from the Rumao Island community clubs an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Rumao Island community paddle their canoes loaded with arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.   REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Rumao Island community paddle their canoes loaded with arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villagers from the Rumao Island community paddle their canoes loaded with arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes from the Rumao Island community clubs an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes from the Rumao Island community clubs an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes from the Rumao Island community clubs an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Porto Novo community load into their canoes arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Porto Novo community load into their canoes arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one...more

Villagers from the Porto Novo community load into their canoes arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villager Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community pulls into his canoe an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villager Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community pulls into his canoe an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of...more

Villager Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community pulls into his canoe an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes (R) from the Rumao Island community drags from his canoe an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes (R) from the Rumao Island community drags from his canoe an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes...more

Villager Diomesio Coelho Antunes (R) from the Rumao Island community drags from his canoe an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Rumao Island community paddle past a line of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Rumao Island community paddle past a line of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villagers from the Rumao Island community paddle past a line of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers Diomesio Coelho Antunes (R) and Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community eat a meal of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, next to the ones they just fished from a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers Diomesio Coelho Antunes (R) and Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community eat a meal of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, next to the ones they just fished...more

Villagers Diomesio Coelho Antunes (R) and Edson de Souza from the Rumao Island community eat a meal of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, next to the ones they just fished from a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>A villager from the Porto Novo community shows a tag certifying where he caught an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

A villager from the Porto Novo community shows a tag certifying where he caught an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the...more

A villager from the Porto Novo community shows a tag certifying where he caught an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, while fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>The skin of an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, is pictured after being fished by villagers from the Rumao Island community out of a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

The skin of an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, is pictured after being fished by villagers from the Rumao Island community out of a branch of the Solimoes river, one of...more

The skin of an arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, is pictured after being fished by villagers from the Rumao Island community out of a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 25, 2013.   REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 25, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main...more

Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community clean their day's catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community clean their day's catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of...more

Villagers from the Sao Raimundo do Jaraua community clean their day's catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villager Edson de Souza (L) from the Rumao Island community, sells part of his catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, at a market near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 30, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villager Edson de Souza (L) from the Rumao Island community, sells part of his catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river,...more

Villager Edson de Souza (L) from the Rumao Island community, sells part of his catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, at a market near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>A villager from the Porto Novo community stores on ice a day's catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

A villager from the Porto Novo community stores on ice a day's catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes...more

A villager from the Porto Novo community stores on ice a day's catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in Poco Fundo lake along a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>Villagers from the Rumao Island community transport their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in a river boat after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

Villagers from the Rumao Island community transport their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in a river boat after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of...more

Villagers from the Rumao Island community transport their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, in a river boat after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa, about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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<p>An aerial view of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve where villagers fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, near Tefe about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly</p>

An aerial view of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve where villagers fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest...more

An aerial view of a tributary of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve where villagers fish for arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, near Tefe about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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