BFAR exec on mosquito fish: Not all alien species harmful
Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) - July 27, 2013 - 12:00am

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines   â€“ Make no big deal about the mosquito fish as being invasive because “not all alien species are harmful to the environment.”

Thus said Westly Rosario, chief of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here, after Theresa Mundita Lim, director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, said the mosquito fish “may bring more serious implications and irreversible damage to our already fragile biodiversity.”

“Mosquitoes do not select their targets, whether a person is rich or poor,” Rosario said. “If you are rich, you spray pesticide once a mosquito enters your room or house then you sleep there and the pesticide remains there. So what do you inhale?”

“If you are poor, you light a katol, a mosquito repellent coil whose smoke is believed to drive away mosquitoes, yet isn’t the smoke harmful to a person’s health if you inhale it?” he said.

“Others put on mosquito repellent lotion on their body but what could be its effects to the skin?” he asked.

Rosario said, “This (mosquito fish) is the simplest. We kill the mosquitoes (through the larvae) while these are not yet flying.”

He said mosquito fish have been in the country for over 70 years, and that based on some readings, their propagation started during the war when malaria was a problem.

According to Rosario, several schools and a hospital here have asked for the fish species as a defense against mosquito bites by putting these in areas where there is stagnant water like canals or creeks.

He said the mosquito fish multiply fast as these have a short sexual maturity of about 27 days only.

He added that the fish species is hardy as it can survive even with low dissolved oxygen. “If there are mosquito larvae (in the canal), they will eat them,” he said.

Rosario said the mosquito fish eventually die if an area is full of water lilies or duck weeds.

“They have a life span of about one year,” he said, adding that big fish prey on the mosquito fish which grow to about seven centimeters only.

Like in the United States, Rosario said though there is a protocol in distributing mosquito fish. “You don’t stock it in open communal water,” he said.

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES FISH MOSQUITO MOSQUITOES PROTECTED AREAS AND WILDLIFE BUREAU ROSARIO THERESA MUNDITA LIM UNITED STATES WESTLY ROSARIO
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