Opinion paper

The need for research and monitoring on the impacts of translocated sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus, in South Africa

  • JA Cambray Makana Biodiversity Centre, Albany Museum, Somerset Street, Grahamstown 6139, South Africa


The sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822), is a widespread African freshwater fish species which occurs naturally from the Nile to the Orange River. Through translocation aquaculturists, farmers, anglers and engineers have helped to extend its range into many South African rivers where it did not occur naturally and where it is now an alien invasive species. Being a very hardy fish species it will have a major impact on a range of aquatic, amphibian and avian biota, impacts that should not be underestimated and which urgently require study. Ironically, the illegal introduction of catfish into some dams has impacted on sport fisheries for another alien: bass. There is also a serious potential impact from alien catfish on freshwater eels. Anglers and farmers need to be educated about the adverse consequences of introducing catfish and a serious look needs to be taken at interbasin transfers of biota by engineers.

Keywords: alien freshwater fish; Clariidae; clariid catfishes; Orange–Fish tunnel; Pseudobarbus asper; Sandelia bainsii; translocated indigenous fish

(Afr J Aqua Sci: 2003 28(2): 191-195)

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9364
print ISSN: 1608-5914