KUALA LUMPUR: The Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) has called on the public not to throw or release the “ikan bandaraya”, popular as an aquarium cleaner, into rivers and lakes.
Its chairman, Muhammad Faiz Fadzil, said the massive population of the alien fish had affected the fishermen’s income where catch of local fish was scarce and fishing nets damaged.
He said the alien fish disrupted the rivers’ ecosystem as it fed on aquatic plants which were also a source of food for local freshwater fish.
“The ‘ikan bandaraya’ also feeds on fish larvae, thus affecting the sustainability of
local freshwater fish population.
“However, there is no data recorded on the population of the fish.
“This alien fish is kept in the aquariums of fish hobbyists for its natural ability to clean the tank by eating the algae, leftover food, sediment and dead fish.
“The dumping of this fish into the rivers has increased its population which will have short- and long-term effects such as damage to the fishery habitat, aquatic surroundings and biodiversity of the freshwater fish in Malaysia.
“It also indirectly affects the fishermen’s income,” Muhammad Faiz told the New Straits Times.
He added that a study on the matter would be done soon by the Fisheries Department and LKIM.
“LKIM also supports the recommendation by the Fisheries Department to amend the Fisheries Rules of 1951 to ensure sustainability of natural resources and fish is protected,” he said.