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A red-bellied piranha discovered in Nanaimo. (Conservation Officer Service/Facebook)

NANAIMO, B.C. - British Columbia conservation officers say two piranhas found in a Vancouver Island lake were likely unwanted pets.

One red-bellied piranha was reeled in by an angler at Westwood Lake in Nanaimo last week.

Another was caught in the same lake during the summer.

The provincial Conservation Officer Service says in a Facebook post that the tropical fish with sharp teeth can't survive winter climates.

The service says introducing aquatic invasive species can have harmful impacts, including threatening native fish, ecosystems and other species.

It adds that it's illegal and a conviction for a first offence could result in a fine of up to $100,000 and a prison term of up to one year.