An angler discovered an exotic “Dragonfish” in the river Suck this weekend.
The fish is native to north and south America but can be purchased in Ireland in pet stores for aquariums.
The fish is only about six inches long and was partly decomposed when handed over to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) but thanks to its long teeth, it was indentified as a “Dragonfish” or “Violet or Dragon Goby”.
The discovery of the foreign fish is of great concern to Dr Joe Caffrey, Senior Research Officer with IFI. He says foreign species released into the wild by well-meaning individuals “could seriously threaten our native biodiversity and ecosystem function, and the continued conservation of internationally important native species in our rivers and lakes.”
The discovery of the toothy fish follows the recent discovery of Yellow-bellied Slider turtle on the River Maigue, in Co. Limerick last week.
Caffrey also said that it is “imperative” everyone is aware “of the potential damage that exotic animals or plants which are deliberately introduced to the wild can inflict upon our unique wildlife and habitats.”
The Dragonfish is regarded as a warm water species so would be unable to survive it the cold water climate of Ireland.
Ireland is particularly susceptible to invasive species and species such as the Asian Clam, Australian Swamp Stonecrop, South African Pondweed and Zebra Mussel have caused a lot of harm to Irish waterways. Measures to get rid of them can also be quite costly.
Introducing or releasing a foreign species, animal or plants, into any Irish habitat is illegal under the European Communities Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations 2011.