Alien fish poses threat to local varieties, says expert

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Alien fish, imported species from other countries, are posing threat to local varieties whose production has decreased recently, according to a report of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Assistant Professor, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) Dr Naheed Bano told APP that reason behind reduc-tion in local fish production was raring of alien fish in water reservoirs.

She shared that as many as 130 kinds of fresh water fish were available in Pakistan adding of whom only 30 types are economically beneficial including Raho, Thaela, Baam, Mori, Palla, Singhala, Khaga, Chandi, and Mahasher etc. In addition to it, destruc-tion of natural habitat, pollution, and climate change were threats to marine life, the academician said adding that several countries of the world have al-ready faced shortage of local varieties owing to alien fish introduction. For example, Dr Naheed explained, when Tail Perch was introduced to Vic-toria Lake in Eastern Africa, its local type Cichlids fell prey to it and ultimately ceased to exist.

Later, tail perch also died due to shortage of food for them. In the USA, during the 70s, four kinds of fish were introduced which included Big Head Carp, Black Carp, Grass Carp and Silver Carp, the assistant professor stated adding that the objective was cleanliness of farm, checking of growing herbs and sewerage treatment, but these managed to enter Mississippi river and altered the food chain in it.

For protecting the ecosystem, it is imperative to fish out these alien types from fresh water, Dr Bano said suggesting that fishing should not go unabated be-cause in this way some other endangered species are also caught in nets. Federal and provincial officials concerned with Fisheries should take steps to stop introduction of alien fish to save production of local types of fish, she voiced.

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