IPOH: Several species of predatory fish, being farmed illegally, are believed to have escaped into Sungai Perak.
The incident is believed to involve hundreds of cages of a fish farming company in Teluk Intan being washed away at about 5pm on Monday.
Perak Fisheries Department director Zaki Mokri said his department began investigating the incident after suspecting that red tail catfish (baung ekor merah) also escaped, based on video clips which went viral on social media.
He said this particular species was prohibited from being reared in cages in the country.
“The fish farm operator said that 30 tonnes of red tail catfish, along with other species, had escaped,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.
Zaki said his department was monitoring the location and river closely.
The incident is believed to have occurred when a large amount of debris hit the cages. This caused the mooring rope holding the cages together to snap.
“As many as 250 (out of 300) fish cages were washed away, causing some fish to escape. Most were trapped in their cages and died.”
Zaki hoped the illegally farmed fish could be caught by anglers in the river because there was deep concern that the predatory red tail catfish would breed and pose a danger to the river ecosystem and resources.
The fish farm operator, who had been operating there for almost 20 years, claimed to have suffered nearly RM7 million in losses after the fish cages were washed away by the strong currents in Sungai Perak.