SAMUT SONGKHRAM – The Department of Fisheries has warned that an infestation of Blackchin Tilapia in Samut Songkram province may be threatening its local fish populations and the eco-system, urging local fishermen to eradicate the alien and stop it from spreading.
Director of Fresh Water Fish Research and Development for the Department of Fisheries Suthichai Rititham made known that Blackchin Tilapia most recently found their way into shrimp farms and have so far devastated the stocks. The fish were brought to Thailand from Africa for breeding into a new marketable species but failed to catch on.
The fish can grow to 8-10 centimeters in length and feed on smaller marine creatures. They naturally reproduce at an accelerated rate.
The department has begun to fight back against the infestation by releasing carnivorous cat fish into waterways to control the population of the tilapia but has urged shrimp farmers who find the fish to eradicate them and to filter any water they inhabited.