‘Killer Fish’ Released in Ponds of Punjab to Combat Dengue


by Hamna Bano

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Lahore: Millions of mosquito-killing fish have been bred to fight the dengue outbreak in Punjab. More than 2.3 million tilapia fish have been released in lakes and ponds in different districts of the province.

According to the data released by the District House Officer’s office, dengue fever in Punjab has witnessed an increase with the number of patients rising up to 1388.

The Punjab Fisheries Department plays an equally important role in the prevention of dengue along with the health department. This year, the fisheries department has bred a total of 2.3 million tilapia fish to eliminate dengue larvae.

Experts in the fisheries department say that “the tilapia is a small fish that was considered a symbol of rebirth in ancient Egypt. In modern times, scientists are working on using this fish against mosquitos that carry diseases like dengue and malaria.”

The fish released are called mosquito-killers as they are able to consume between 100 to 300 mosquito larvae a day. It was further said that “this type of mosquito killer fish grows in freshwater and is four to seven centimeters in length.”

“Punjab will use mosquito killer fish to control dengue naturally”, a statement claimed.

Dr. Sikander Hayat, the Director-General of Punjab fisheries discussed three methods of controlling the spread of dengue. He suggested that the dengue mosquito multiplies in water, so the most viable mechanical method is to eliminate the collected water. Unfortunately, this has not worked for Punjab and now the most suitable method to control dengue is through releasing Tilapia fish.

Hayat added that “his staff checks the pH (acidity or bitterness level) of the water, evaluates its success rate, and then releases the tilapia and grass carp fish to biologically control the dengue larvae.”

Great results are anticipated as the fish have been released in different districts of Punjab.