Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said Mekong red tail catfish was a predator fish listed by DoF along 32 species of fish that were not allowed to be released in rivers, dams, lakes and mines in the country. (BERNAMA)

SERDANG: The Fisheries Department (DoF) has recommended all state governments to amend Kaedah-Kaedah Perikanan (Fishing methods) to prevent the public from releasing alien fish into public waters.

Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said such exotic fish was released or dumped into rivers or lakes by the public.

“At the moment, we do not have a rule that prevents the member of public from releasing fish into the river.

“We have asked the state government to include a new clause in the state river rules to prevent the public from releasing prohibited species into public waters.

“If they want to release fish in the river, they will need to refer to the respective state DoF. Should they fail to obtain permission, they must adhere to the directive,” he told reporters after launching of DoF excellence programme at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) today.

Yesterday, NST reported that ichthyologists, researchers and fishermen want the government to take a more serious look at the threat of monstrous predatory fish that had invaded major rivers and were endangering indigenous species.

They group said fish such as the Mekong red tail catfish (Hemibagrus wyckioides), which originates from the Mekong River, and the peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris) from the Amazon River, were devouring local species and may force some into extinction.

Salahuddin said Mekong red tail catfish was a predator fish listed by DoF along 32 species of fish that were not allowed to be released in rivers, dams, lakes and mines in the country.

He said some hobbyists dumped their fish in the river when they no longer wanted to keep them, and some released for religious purposes.

He said DoF was currently creating an inventory of alien species that lived in our waters.

“We are doing research and finding ways to eliminate them,” he said, adding thet DoF would monitor the red tail catfish farming industry to ensure the operators were in compliance with the recommendations and regulations.

He said district fisheries officers would also conduct checks on a regular basis apart from conducting awareness programmes on impacts derived from alien fish to the ecosystem.

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