fishArmored catfish, a particularly pesky species of burrowing fish, have been detected in Sylvester Village near Gallon Jug in the Orange Walk District. In the month of September the Fisheries Department received a report from the Manager of Gallon Jug Estate that a strange fish had been caught in the area. The armored catfish are a popular aquarium fish as they use their suckered mouths to clean algae from tanks. But that same behavior that is helpful in fish tanks actually erodes local shorelines up to 10 feet as the fish devastate aquatic plant life.  According to Wilfredo Pott from the Inland Fishing Unit at the Fisheries Department, a team has been sent in the area and is now investigating the situation.

Wilfredo Pott, Fisheries Department

“In the middle of October we did a verification trip out there so we were unable to capture those things. We did a sampling exhibition but we were unable to capture the fish, only two samples were caught by the villagers out there and it happened during a flood during the month of September and the waters were very high when these fishes were caught.  This fishes originates from the amazon in South America, it is used in the aquarium industry because it eats algae and it tends to clean the aquarium tanks.  This fish is very reproductive every time it lays its eggs it lays between 300 to 3500 and it tends to take care of it young so what would happen is that they would over populate the area they have invaded and cause trouble with the natives like competing with them got space and food too.”

A management program will soon be sent in place to contain the increase of the plecos in Belize.

Wilfredo Pott, Fisheries Department

We have been working on developing a management plan for controlling the invasion of this invasive species nous and we are working for program for Belize and the Audubon Society putting together an action plan to deal with this issue.  The initial action that we are taking is that we are inviting the public in the area to report any capture of this fish, we will also be embarking in an awareness campaign, we will be visiting the villages along the Rio Bravo and Rio Hondo and informing everyone what are the threats and what they should do if they capture the fish. We will also be implementing an incentive program to encourage people to bring the fish to the Fisheries Department and we will be giving then a small stipend.”

According to Pott the fish can be consumed by the public.

Wilfredo Pott, Fisheries Department

“The fish is actually covered with a hard bony scale, like it name implies it has an armored around it and ones you manage to remove the armored it has fairly good meat to be consumed, actually what Mexicans, because they were affected, they had a huge problem with this specie, it manage to displace the tilapia, they had tilapia in a big lake and it was a very important fish there and it ended up destroying that fish there so this poses a treat to other fishes.”

In 2003 the fish was detected in Guatemala and Nicaragua. The Fisheries Department strongly suspects that the fish found in the Rio Bravo migrated from Guatemala.

Share this post

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.

Headline News