Malaysia: Alien fish invasion -- Melaka enforces ban on imported fish species

JANE RAJ New Straits Times 8 Jun 17;

MELAKA: The Melaka Fisheries Department today enforced a ban on imported genus and species of fish which pose a danger of disrupting the biodiversity and stability of the marine ecosystem here.

A total of 35 premises dealing with the sale of aquarium fish in Melaka, will be given explanation on the banned genus and species under Section 61 of the Fisheries Act 1985.

A total of 15 genus including Trout, Lepisosteus, Salmon, Sturgeon, Peacock Bass, Arapaima, Northern Pike, Serrasalmus, Serrasalmo, Pygopritis, Piaractus, Mylossoma, Myletes, Pygocentrus, Catoprian, Flower Horn, Myleus, Pristobrycon and species of Red Claw are banned.

Melaka Fisheries Department deputy director Doreen Wee Siew Leen led the operation and gave clarifications to 12 different premises this morning.

"Today, we will be giving clarification to the owners of the premises and will make them put up posters of the banned fish," she said.

She added that no one can sell, buy or rear the banned genus and species in Malaysia without a permission letter from the Fisheries Department.

She said the reason for banning these fish was because they pose a threat of becoming dominant and cause the extinction of native fish in the river.

This, she said, would also affect the economy and the industry if the banned fish breed in a large scale and kill other local species which contribute to the food supply.

"It would be a predator because it grows twice as big compared to our local fish. Fish such as mahseer and carp will decrease if we don't take action now," she said after the operation in Melaka Tengah.

These banned breeds of fish can also cause the local fish disease including the Koi Herpes Virus, Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome, Spring Viraemia of Carp.

Based on the inventory done by the department, local fish are decreasing due to this imported fish which are banned.

"Certain owners, are not able to care for these fish due to its rapid growth and expenditure. Eventually they will release those fish in any river nearby," she said.

Doreen said the fish which are banned will be an interference to the ecosystem, and biodiversity of a river.

"To those who does not possess a permission letter, they will be given one month to apply.

"If they do not take any action, we will carry on with the enforcement." she said.

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