The ‘devil fish’ threatens the ecosystem of the Bacalar Lagoon

Friends of Sian Ka'an projects support to communities to combat the plague. Photo: (La Jornada Maya)

Chetumal, Quintana Roo (April 23, 2021).- The threat of the devilfish to the ecosystem of the Bacalar Lagoon is still latent after several years of remaining as a controlled species in the Hondo River. The director of “Amigos de Sian Ka’an”, Gonzalo Merediz Alonso, indicated that as of May 3 they will be participating in the Tierras Mayas project through HipGIVE, in order to fund activities that prevent the development of this species, which in other states in the country have spread and put native species at risk.

Through this organization HipGIVE, which promotes philanthropy to strengthen projects in Mexico and the United States, Amigos de Sian Ka’an participates in the Tierras Mayas project, in order to generate funding that helps communities in the south of the state to combat the plague of ‘devil fish’ that is present in Río Hondo and that is already wreaking havoc on the local fishery.

“It is a very great risk for the integrity of the Bacalar Lagoon, we are making every effort to prevent devilfish from reaching the lagoon because it would mean significant damage to the stromatolites and to other unique environmental aspects of the Lagoon,” said Merediz Alonso.

The director of the aforementioned organization indicated that, together with academics from the Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Ecosur), a permanent monitoring of the presence of the fish is maintained in the Hondo River, where a growth of its population has been observed, especially in the vicinity of the town of La Unión, in the border area.

Merediz Alonso recalled that in some areas of Tabasco and Campeche, the ‘devil fish’ has managed to invade ecosystems in a significant way, destroying native species and consequently harming fishermen.

“Although it is an edible fish, it is not as popular in the market as others, it also generates a lot of erosion in rivers and lagoons, because they nest making holes, and yes, it is a great environmental and social problem of great proportions, and what we are trying to avoid is that the problem overflows ”, he specified.

The goal is to raise at least five thousand dollars that will allow us to continue working with the fishermen on the banks of the Hondo River to continue extracting individuals of ‘devil fish’, given the interest of the communities in eliminating this species; in addition to maintaining monitoring in Bacalar under the mechanism established by Ecosur from the genetic material dissolved in the water. 

They also intend to establish an early warning campaign among the providers of aquatic services in Bacalar and information campaigns so that people do not buy in aquariums and do not release this type of species in natural environments, because doing so can generate an environmental catastrophe.

Source: La Jornada Maya