Written by By Sara J. Maselkh, CNN
The surge in growth by tilapia can greatly reduce the fish’s buoyancy, limiting its ability to swim naturally. Tilapia are extremely fast growing fish, growing to just under 60 pounds (28 kilograms) in just 15 days. This makes it easy for them to escape from their parents’ water, causing them to multiply at an alarming rate.
“It has turned into a very serious problem, because very fast growing fish are noxious to other fish,” said University of New Mexico fish physiology professor An Aizumi.
Despite awareness of the fish’s issues, Aizumi says the problem remains largely ignored. “I really don’t see the fisheries department using the fish for research because it isn’t worth their time,” he said. “They just don’t understand the issue.”
Because of its reproductive capabilities, tilapia are often the first fish humans place on a farm. Experts say tilapia can reproduce up to 40 times during their lifetime. There are more than 2,000 sites that raise tilapia commercially around the world, and they supply fish to grocery stores and restaurants all over the world.
Fish farms have also become major producers of large amounts of pollution, thanks to the huge amount of ammonia and other substances they produce.
Here are the latest developments in the fight to save our oceans from the onslaught of these filthy, fast-growing fish.