A crackdown has been launched on the illegal import of piranhas into Cambodia after one business was found to be importing the fish, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
Im Rachna, Ministry spokeswoman, told Kiripost on Monday that this is the first case of piranha imports it has discovered, while authorities called on people to cooperate.
Rachana said that the Ministry does not allow piranha imports, and urged anyone who has information of people doing so to report it immediately to authorities.
Piranhas originate from South America, however, recently they have been exported to other countries. Piranhas have since been found in Bangladesh and the Liujiang River in China. A few months ago, Thailand was forced to launch a crackdown on piranha imports in Bangkok city.
“In Cambodia, we don't allow the import of piranhas, however, traders still continue to import secretly,” Rachna said.
“The Ministry and relevant authorities will continue to observe and be more careful to do whatever to crackdown on imports of that type of fish in a timely and efficient manner,” she added.
According to an MAFF statement, the Ministry has checked the situation and taken action since August 6. The owner of the business has signed a contract agreeing to stop imports and to destroy the piranhas.
MAFF called on the public and traders not to import piranhas and other types of fish that impact natural fish, people, animals and environment.
The Seaworld organization found that piranha populations are increasing in certain rivers. Humans also hunt piranhas for their meat and for the pet trade. It is legal to have piranhas as pets in some areas. Of course, aquarists must take care while handling piranhas to avoid receiving a serious bite.