Reasons for Banning Piranha and African Catfish
By Amila Khan
The government of Bangladesh has banned the production, marketing, and sale of Piranha fish in many countries, due to its monstrous nature.
The government has completely banned piranha fish farming, production, fry production, breeding, market selling, and purchase from the market since February 2008. Since June 2014, the import, display, and marketing of African catfish have also been banned.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock issued a notification in this regard and imposed the ban.
The ban was imposed on African Catfish by amending several sections of the Protection and Conservation of Fish Rules of 1985.
The cabinet also gave policy approval to the draft of the Fisheries Prohibition Act-2018 with the provision of jail penalty for importing African catfish and piranha fish, fish pollen, and fry from abroad.
Violation of this law is punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of Tk. 5 lakh or both.
Because of the cultivation of these two fish species, the native species of fish may become extinct. Somehow, if these fish move from ponds or blocked water bodies to rivers or open water bodies, it could bring a catastrophe for Bangladesh’s fishery resources.
In this regard, Yahya Mahmud, Director General of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, said, “Bangladesh is a flood-prone country. Now, if piranha fish and African catfish are farmed in ponds or enclosures, and if that fish floats in the water and moves from the blocked place to free water bodies like rivers, canals, and beels. Then all the small and big native fish can become extinct due to their attack.”
But in Bangladesh, these fish are still seen being produced and sold in the open market, which is mostly sold as Thai Rupchanda or Marine Chanda. It is seen to be sold small size African catfish, as native catfish.
As the price is low, it is also sold in the name of other fish buyers who are continually being deceived.
There is no health risk in eating this fish; however, there are many environmental risks. That is what Mahmud said.
He expressed concern if the production, marketing, sale, and preservation of piranha and African catfish did not stop permanently, then 260 species of freshwater fish and 465 species of marine fish in Bangladesh will become extinct.