ALIEN FISH SPECIES – 22 APR 2014
In accordance to Earth Day, 22nd April 2014. I hoped that through this knowledge sharing will helped anglers to understand more of their role not only to catch their dream target species or trophies but to conserve and protect the environment as well. Through out the world, introductory of non native species has caused major global change, harming native species and society. A research conducted by Khairul Adha A. Rahim, Yuzine Esa & Aziz Arshad titled The Influence of Alien Fish Species in Native Fish Community Structure in Malaysian Waters has captured my intention lately in understanding more on the effects of non native species towards native species. It is a collaboration research between University Malaysia Sarawak and University Putra Malaysia in researching the species composition, ecology, and distribution on alien fish species in natural water bodies and also examine the role of alien fish species on socio-economic perspective. My blog writing today will highlight key findings in this research and to share information that are useful to anglers.
Recently, anglers are discussing and sharing their point of view regarding the effect of invasive species that are famous among anglers in Malaysia. As we know, there are those who are against alien fish species introduction and some are actively introducing it in local habitat.
The reason for the introduction of non-native species in local ecosystem is related to aquaculture, recreational fisheries, stocking enhancement, biological control, and the aquarium fish industry. It was introduced in Malaysia 50 years ago under fresh water cultivation initiated by farmer. Over the last two decade, aquaculture production in Asia has increase dramatically to cope with the outstanding demand across the globe. Increase in demand for what is believed food and aquarium industry has been the main catalyst in aquaculture production. In order to increase production and improve commercial values, Malaysian Department of Fisheries has implement non-native species domestication to boost fish stock and encourage recreational fisheries.
Non Native Species Introduction
Malaysian non-native species can be grouped into 16 Family which consist of 43 Genera or in laymen terms 43 different fresh water and saltwater fishes. Although in the paper highlighted that not all alien species are able to strive in natural ecosystem. Some species like the Sucker Mouth Catfish “h. plecostomus” and Peacock Bass “c. ocellaris” are able to adapt in natural ecosystem which able them to breed and self maintained locally. This is only possible by the species is introduced in large numbers or introduced consistently.
The Fisheries Department of Malaysia continue to release a large number of alien species into natural enviroment for restocking enhancement in public bodies of water through out Malaysia. The successful adaptation and establishment of these alien species generally are characterized by the following factor.
- Becoming large and abundant in their native range
- Maintaining a high generic variability
- Subsisting on a broad diet
- Having a short generation time
- Able to move freely from place to place
Other studies has been conducted in Malaysia to investigate the effect of alien species towards native species. The findings concluded that it is still premature to blame 100% on alien species towards the declining diversity of native species. Researchers suggest that alien species may coexist together with native species, exploiting unoccupied environmental conditions that are unfavorable to native species which then result in an increase of total species richness.
Deeper in the article suggest that the sharp decline in native species is primarily caused by pollution, siltation, damming, illegal fishing methods and over-fishing. Hamzah (2011) showed that the development of oil palm plantation had caused deterioration of water quality that finally lead to a decline in fish diversity in the Batang Kerang floodplain. Khairul Adha (2012) observed that alien fish species have successfully survived in poor quality water that is unsuitable for some native species. Cause and Effect takes place, when water quality deteriorate along with poor ecological factor, species with the ability to survive in poor condition will emerge as the dominant group as compared to native species. Thus alien species are not the strongest factor that causes the shrinking of Malaysian premier species. Deforestation, loss of natural habitat and exploitation of natural resources is still the main contributing factor that all anglers should take note.
Illegal fishing activity
Personally, I believe that anglers and academician in environmental field should coexist closer to one another. Anglers may know in detail the declination of some species over the years and academician may know the cause of such an adverse effect. We always hear stories that fishing condition in any part of Malaysia is getting worse and will soon gets even worse, as catches drop dramatically and sometimes we need to venture into new territories to land our dream catches. We should now realize the importance of anglers role not only to post our prized trophy in the internet but to fight what is right in protecting the environment and share across the knowledge of angling with responsibility and respect. Thus I hoped with my article, we can start today by protecting what love doing by adding a sense of responsibility in applying sustainable angling method and always respect the environment.
NON-NATIVE FRESHWATER FISH SPECIES IN MALAYISA
Large Mouth Bass
Oreochromis Urolepis Hornorum
Carassius Auratus Auratus
Red Tilapia Hybrid
Carassius sp x Cyprinus sp