Foreign fish have taken over Klang Valley rivers, threatening the survival of local fish [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 80 per cent of rivers in the Klang Valley have been invaded and inhabited by foreign fish, which can cause the extinction of the rivers' indigenous aquatic life.

Among the foreign fish invading five rivers — for example, Sungai Kuyoh, Sungai Klang, and Sungai Keroh — are black tilapia, suckermouth catfish, African catfish, Javanese carp and jaguar fish.

This has caused the habitat of native fish to nearly disappear and become difficult to detect due to the predatory nature of the foreign fish.

Fisheries Department director-general Datuk Adnan Hussain said the situation was most critical in Sungai Kuyoh, Bukit Jalil, where 99 per cent of its habitat consisted of foreign fish.

He said that in an operation conducted in less than two hours, 600 foreign fish were caught by more than 200 community members and agencies.

yeah"No native fish was caught. If there was any, it might be just one or two.

"This is not good for the ecosystem, and it is the responsibility of everyone to reduce the number of foreign fish.

"Releasing foreign fish into the ecosystem, whether intentionally or not, will not help increase the biodiversity of our native fish.

"So the effort to hunt foreign fish is to balance our ecosystem to enable our waters to accommodate native fish again."

He said this after attending a foreign fish hunting programme with the community in Sungai Kuyoh here.

The operation also received cooperation from Aquaria KLCC and participants from government and private agencies, Urban Fish Hunters community club, residents and higher learning institutions.

Commenting on the catch in Sungai Kuyoh, Adnan said the ratio was unbalanced as not a single native fish was caught.

"However, other ecosystems are still in a good and controlled condition. We are focusing on areas that require joint conservation efforts."

Besides rivers in the Klang Valley, his department has also received reports of foreign fish in Sungai Perak and Sungai Pahang.

"However, it is not as critical as in Sungai Kuyoh and the situation is still under control.

"Because of this, the department has improved regulations to include certain species of foreign fish as being prohibited from being brought into the country."

When asked about action taken against those releasing foreign fish due to religious rituals or fulfilling vows, Adnan said his department focused more on awareness campaigns.

"The approach we are taking is not enforcement-based because we know those (performing religious rituals or fulfilling vows) may have good intentions and do not understand that certain species should not be released into the waters.

"Firstly, we have met the community to provide advice and on what action they should take.

"Secondly, for sensitive and critical areas, we will put up posters or signs to state that such activities should not be carried out.

"Several states have laws and can take action against those concerned."

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