Armored catfish are an aquarium fanatic’s dream. They clean the glass, eat debris, and are quite cute. However, their eating habits and destructive tendencies have been wreaking havoc along Mexican cost lines.
Like goldfish, catfish get incredibly large. Sometimes, pet owners become overwhelmed with their size and “free” them into freshwater sources. This is absolutely terrible for the environment, as catfish are considered an invasive species, and will easily overtake ecosystems.
The fish is nearly indestructible, with hard scales and the uncanny ability to live out of water for hours at a time. They can live for up to 15 years, and lay about 500 eggs per litter. In the wild, they eat dead fish and underwater foliage, which devastates underwater ecosystems. The devastation in turn, has frustrated both residents and farmers on the coasts of Mexico, Florida, and parts of Central America.
However, these fish, as mentioned before, are incredibly resilient. It would be impossible to kill them all, and even if the majority of adults were killed, they would be able to repopulate quickly. The only option is to eat them.
Mike Mitchell, a specialist in sustainable fishing, applied for a Fullbright grant to “analyze freshwater fish.” He has been fishing since he was little, and he knew that the fish were safe for human consumption. With his efforts to farm the fish in a sustainable manner, the catfish population may be able to turn from a disaster into a blessing.
Look how cute! Getty Images