KUALA LUMPUR: The Department of Fisheries of Malaysia (DOF) has revealed that six rivers in the Klang Valley are now monopolised by foreign fish species, such as ikan bandaraya (Amazon sailfin catfish), black tilapia and keli afrika (African catfish).

The rivers involved are Sungai Kuyoh, Sungai Klang, Sungai Keroh, Sungai Jinjang, Sungai Gombak and Sungai Batu.

DOF director-general Datuk Adnan Hussain said the percentage was very concerning as it could cause the development of ecosystem biodiversity in the rivers to stagnate.

“The actions of certain parties in releasing these foreign fish species (into the country’s waters) are not helpful because their actions cause the biodiversity of our local fish to decrease.

“Not only that, these fish also do not add much value to the national economy. If this is not stopped, it will lead to the extinction of local fish species in our waters,” he told a media conference after officiating the launch of the Foreign Fish Hunting Programme with the Community in Sungai Kuyoh, Bukit Jalil, near here.

The programme is a collaboration between DOF and Komuniti Pemburu Ikan Bandaraya, government agencies, the private sector, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).

He said the hunting of these species is aimed at balancing the ecosystem to ensure that the country’s river waters are safe for the release of local fish species.

He added that through this programme over 600 foreign fish species weighing 400 kilogrammes (kg) were caught within two hours.

“In today’s programme, where we cast fishing nets, we found that 99 per cent of the fish we caught were of foreign species. What’s even more surprising is that throughout the two hours, we only caught two local fish species, namely ikan puyu (climbing perch).

“The biggest catch of ikan bandaraya caught today weighed over 1kg while the keli afrika weighed 4kg,” he said.