800 kg of banned African and Sucker mouth catfish seized in Rameswaram

Official sources added that the African catfish species is banned considering its high fat content, and the potential risk that it poses to the aquatic ecosystem.
The African catfish or 'Theli', and tank cleaner fish, also known as Sucker mouth catfish, were recovered.
The African catfish or 'Theli', and tank cleaner fish, also known as Sucker mouth catfish, were recovered.(Photo | Express)

RAMANATHAPURAM: About 800 kg of banned African catfish and Sucker mouth catfish have been seized by the food safety department near Rameswaram on Wednesday. This is the second time in one year that such a large consignment of banned fish has been recovered in the district. In August 2023, the department had seized 1,300 kg of African catfish from Rameswaram.

Based on a tip-off about the movement of banned fish in Ramanathapuram, food safety department officials, along with police from Uchipuli station, conducted a vehicle check near ECR road, and came across the consignment which was being transported to be used as feed for chicken.

The African catfish or 'Theli', and tank cleaner fish, also known as Sucker mouth catfish, were recovered. Both fish species are banned in India. Senior officials from the department noted that both species of catfish are carnivorous, and are usually spotted in Africa.

Over the years, however, these fish have entered the waterbodies in India. With a high survival rate, these fish can live up to a day without water. Their main food source is the native fish species. Official sources added that the African catfish species is banned considering its high fat content, and the potential risk that it poses to the aquatic ecosystem.

"By virtue of being carnivorous, the African catfish multiply at a faster rate and grow massively. Owing to their food habits, these fish have higher fat content. Such high fat could cause skin allergy and even cardiac arrest. Thus, rearing or selling African catfish is banned in several states in India. These are also invasive species, which pose a threat to the native fish species and their habitats," explained a senior official. Sucker mouth catfish, locally known as tank-cleaner fish, can only be spotted once waterbodies have dried up.

Even without water these species can survive with the moisture for a while. This species yields a small amount of meat, but poses a great harm to the native species and habitat. Despite conducting a series of awareness programmes, the food safety department found miscreants engaged in rearing and commercial sale of African catfish in Ramanthapuram. The officials found that both fish species are used as feed for poultry, but in certain cases the African catfish are illegally sold in markets. Investigations are under way to nab those engaged in illegal fish trade. Meanwhile, food safety officials have advised people against rearing or consuming such species.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com