People are paying up to $300,000 to own an Asian arowana, and are willing to fork out money to pay for plastic surgery for their pet fish, CNBC reported.
For about $90, the fish can have an eyelift, and for $60 a chin job, but these amounts are miniscule in comparison to the thousands that people are splashing out to own one of the world’s most expensive aquatic creatures.
The arowana is also known as the “dragon fish” and can grow to about 3 feet in length.
The fish bears resemblance to the paper dragons in the Chinese New Year parade, which has ignited the belief that the creature can bring about good luck and prosperity, and would commit suicide to save its owner by vaulting from its tank, the New York Post reported.
The fish is protected by the Endangered Species Act after its numbers were nearly depleted, making it illegal for the arowana to be brought into the U.S.
However, in the 1980s authorities loosened restrictions to permit the trade of farm-bred arowana born in captivity, causing sales to flourish until 2012, when breeders flooded the market, leading to a dramatic fall in prices, CNBC noted.
Emily Voigt, author of “The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish,” traveled to 15 countries to research the obsession of the arowana.
In an interview with National Geographic, she recalled how the heavily guarded creatures were transported across countries despite the ban.
“It is illegal to import arowana into the U.S., but in recent years almost 2 million of them have been moved across international borders,” she said. “The farms in Southeast Asia where they are produced are like high-security prisons with concrete walls protected by guard dogs, watchtowers, and barbed wire. All for a fish.”
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