Tighter control on the import of alien fish species

The Fisheries Department is set to draft a by-law to tighten up control on the import of alien fish species into the country after it was discovered that several alien fish species have proliferated in natural waterways threatening indigenous species.

Fisheries Department chief Mr Adisorn Promthep said Wednesday (Oct 11) that, under the existing law, import of alien fish species must be screened by a committee and the importer must be able to explain the purpose of the import and the measures to prevent the spread of alien fish species in natural waterways to the committee’s satisfaction.

The by-law will mete out the penalties against illegal importers and those who allow the alien fish species to escape into the wild.  An illegal importer will face one-year imprisonment and/or a fine of one million baht whereas the one who allows the fish to slip into natural waterways faces two-year jailterm and/or two million baht fine.

Moreover, Mr Adisorn said fisheries officials throughout the country were instructed to educate the people about the danger posed by alien fish species and to stop releasing alien fish species into natural waterways as a merit-making activity.

He noted that Thailand is experiencing problem of the proliferation of alien species in the wild such as sherry mollusk, sucker fish, Japanese turtle and blackchin tilapia fish with the import of blackchin tilapia being completely banned.