Nile perch-A fish with a voracious appetite

 Nile perch.

Nile perch

It is oily, has a voracious appetite, multiplies quickly, and grows up to six feet in length.

What is it?

Lates niloticus!

Commonly known as the Nile perch, it's introduction into Lake Victoria in the 1950’s  proved to be an ecological disaster.

Within decades it managed to devour nearly half of the lake’s 400 indigenous fish species.

This mass extinction has threatened the food source of millions of local people who depended on the smaller tilapia, cichlids, and other native fish to feed their families.

These small fish are also responsible for the health of the lake.

Some of them feed on the snail that causes the dreaded disease bilharzia, thus helping to keep the sickness in check.

Others consume the algae and other aquatic plants that are now growing out of control.

This unchecked growth has produced a condition called eutrophication, in which the decay of rotting vegetation causes a depletion of oxygen in the water.

With fewer native fish to clean up this mess, “dead zones,” areas of water without oxygen, have increased, killing even more fish.

With fewer fish to eat, the ever-hungry Nile perch has turned to a new food source—its own young!

The fish that is swallowing the lake now threatens to swallow itself!