Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Invasive fish target of Dapo Lake drive

COUPONS FOR KILOSThe Chihshang Township office had prepared 2,000 coupons worth NT$100,000 for its bounty drive, but has seen half the money claimed in one month

By Wang Hsiu-ting, Lin Yen-tung and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Residents of Taitung’s Chihshang Township catch invasive foreign fish species at Dapo Lake on Monday to collect a bounty.

Photo: Wang Hsiu-ting, Taipei Times

More than 1 tonne of invasive fish have been removed from Dapo Lake (大坡) in Taitung County a month after a bounty for such fish was announced, the Chihshang Township (池上) office said.

Chihshang Township Mayor Chang Jao-cheng (張堯城) said his office put a NT$50 (US$1.7) per kilogram bounty on invasive fish about a month ago.

The Dapo Lake ecosystem is increasingly threatened by armored catfish and snakehead murrel, the species that was thought to be responsible for biting a swimmer in Huoshuei Lake (活水湖) on Sunday, Chang said.

Taking advantage of local residents’ interest in fishing, Chang said he reopened the lake for recreational fishing with the prevision that the focus be on catching the pest fish.

Six residents on Monday claimed NT$2,000 in coupons with 48kg of fish.

The office said 1,031kg of fish had been removed from the lake as of Monday, with armored catfish comprising the majority of the catch.

The catches are disposed of by township employees at a designated landfill because the fish have “an earthy and unpalatable flavor,” the office said.

Thirty-five people — most of whom are township residents — have participated in the fish-for-coupons program.

A man, surnamed Hsu (徐), has caught 118kg, the office said.

The office initially had 2,000 coupons worth NT$100,000, but the enthusiastic response has meant that half of the coupons have already been claimed, Chang said.

The township office has applied for a more money to continue the bounty, he added.

The Taitung County Government closed Huoshuei Lake to visitors and the central government is making plans to rid the nation’s lakes of pests, Fisheries Agency official Chen Chien-yu (陳建佑) said.

The Council of Agriculture intends to launch a program to rid the lakes of invasive fish such as glass perch, which have infested Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), he said.

Under the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), those who transport a new foreign species to the nation without a permit could be fined between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million, Chen said.

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