Fish don't appear to be spreading

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
12 April 2007, at 1:00am

US - An alien fish that could harm native species important to recreational fishermen does not appear to have been spread by Katrina, two scientists who have studied it said Wednesday.

Tilapia, a white-fleshed food fish brought to the area for aquaculture farming, is now found in the Pascagoula and Escatawpa rivers and Simmons Bayou in Ocean Springs.

Researchers are worried that the hardy fish could find its way to the Back Bay of Biloxi and other coastal waterways.

"We didn't see any spread, but the final word is still out on that," said Mark Peterson, a professor of biology at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab. "We don't have the data to say whether their population is exploding. They are certainly capable of withstanding the local environment and of doing well."