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Lake Nicaragua's Freshwater Sharks “Bull Shark” Carcharhinus leucas

The picture above, was taken in 2000 at the San Ramon Biological Station, Maderas National Park; it serves as evidence that sharks, indeed, do exist in Lake Nicaragua today. Two young, adult bull sharks are shown with Anna Maria Adamo (the former consul to the USA) and Rene Molina Valenzuela. The sharks were accidentally caught in the nets of local fisherman while fishing for other food species such as guapote and mojarra, as fishing for the sharks in Lake Nicaragua is not allowable. Thanks to Anna Maria Adamo for the photo. 

Nicaragua's freshwater sharks have been migrating up the Rio San Juan to Lake Nicaragua from the Atlantic Ocean, for as long as people can remember. Lake Nicaragua used to be well populated with bull sharks until the 1960s and 1970s when Nicaragua allowed Japan to build and operate a shark fin processing plant on the shores of the Rio San Juan. The was even a shark fin processing plant on the lake shores near Granada during the golden days of Nicaragua.

Freshwater sharks and other rare species of fish, such as largetooth sawfish do live in the lake today, though it is generally accepted as safe to swim most places, except for near the Rio San Juan. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists bull sharks as 'near threatened' with declining populations all over the world. Reported shark- finning and overfishing still occurs in Nicaragua and Central America at large. Do not buy products made with shark or other threatened species, and do your part to help protect the magnificent biological diversity of Nicaragua.