Do not Release Foreign Fish: Fisheries Administration

This file photo shows the release of a turtle. Photo: WCS Cambodia

PHNOM PENH – The Fisheries Administration (FA) has banned the release of foreign-origin fish and aquatic species into natural waters because of the risk to local fish stocks and ecosystems.

The FA said that it has noticed the release of imported fish species into waterways.

It posted on Facebook a picture of people releasing arapaima fish into Tonle Sap River on Jan. 24. The fish had been imported for display.

One of the largest freshwater fish, arapaima, comes from the Amazon River in the Brazilian rainforest and survives mainly by eating other fish.

“Some foreign-origin fishes are ferocious, carnivorous or​ quick-breeding and will consume local fish, conquer the living sanctuary, spread disease or cause changes in the ecosystem when their number grows,” it said on Jan. 25.

The administration also called on those raising foreign fish to be vigilant in caring for their fish and not release them into natural waterways. 

Instead, it encouraged the release of locally sourced or endangered aquatic species and fish species to increase their presence in natural waterways. 

Royal turtle, Siamese carb, Mekong giant catfish and sea turtle are among the species under threat and listed on the  International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.

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