Tilapia Found to be Invasive in Fiji
The poster child for sustainable fish farming—the tilapia—is actually a problematic invasive species for the native fish of the islands of Fiji, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups.
Scientists suspect that tilapia introduced to the waterways of the Fiji Islands may be gobbling up the larvae and juvenile fish of several native species of goby, fish that live in both fresh and salt water and begin their lives in island streams.
The recently published paper appears in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. The authors include: Stacy Jupiter and Ingrid Qauqau of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Aaron P. Jenkins of Wetlands International-Oceania; and James Atherton of Conservation International.
"Many of the unique freshwater fishes of the Fiji Islands are being threatened by introduced tilapia and other forms of development in key water catchment basins," said Dr. Jupiter, a co-author of the study and one of the investigators examining the effects of human activities on the native fauna. "Conserving the native fishes of the islands will require a multi-faceted collaboration that protects not only the waterways of the islands, but the ecosystems that contain them."
The most surprising finding of the study centers on the tilapia, a member of the cichlid family of fishes from Africa that has become one of the most important kinds of fish for aquaculture, due in large part to its rapid rate of growth and palatability. Aside from its value as a source of protein, the tilapia is sometimes problematic to native fish species in tropical locations.
Article continues: http://www.wcs.org/press/press-releases/tilapia-farming-fiji.aspx