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By John A. Concepcion

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Jan. 5) — The Palau Bureau of Agriculture as well as other government and non-government agencies are drafting an action plan that will guide the efforts to eradicate tilapia.

Agriculture Director Herman Francisco said the Tilapia Eradication Team will meet on Monday, Jan. 5, to discuss the plan.

The agriculture bureau has been tasked by President Tommy Remengesau to spearhead the eradication of tilapia, which is found at several sites in Palau.

The tilapia is considered harmful to other marine life forms in Palau and can live in fresh and salt waters.

It is an aggressive fish and it "outcompetes" and displaces other endangered and protected fresh and salt-water organisms.

It was brought to Palau without a permit, making it an illegally introduced species.

The bureau’s Tarita Holm said possible tilapia breeding sites have been or will be visited to gather more information on how to carry out the eradication.

Recently, the Tilapia Eradication Team visited four sites where tilapia may be found — Ngesaol, PTC old Japanese dry dock, PTC quarry pond, and PTC barracks pond.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection, which is a part of the team, will also survey at least eight sites, all in Koror, to determine if there are any other tilapia areas.

Holm said one of the eradication methods they have been considering is a chemical called Rotenone to poison the tilapia.

Previously, the government used chlorine and dynamite, to no avail.

The public is urged to report any sightings of the tilapia to the agriculture bureau at (680) 488-2504 and (680) 488-8171.

Those who keep tilapias in fish tanks should bring them to the bureau, which will replace them with non-invasive native species.

January 5, 2004

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