By The Nation
Khon Kaen Governor Somsak Jangtrakul on Monday presided over the launch of an operation to eradicate sucker fish (Hypostomus plecostomus), which are deemed a threat to native species and the environment, from the large pond at Bung Tung Sang park in the provincial capital.
The overwhelming population of sucker fish at the park, along with other factors, had led to fish deaths en masse, with the many carcasses emitting a foul smell that spread to the surrounding area.
To combat the over-population of sucker fish in the pond, the scheme saw villagers catching a total of 200 kilograms of live fish to sell at Bt3 per kilo to officials.
They then arranged for renowned Tobishinchi chef Thanachai Ekkawan to use the fish as ingredients in a cooking demonstration as a means of encouraging public consumption of the species.
Michelin star chef Thanachai said the sucker fish is edible as its meat is dense and of high protein, although its hard, scaly appearance can be scary.
He demonstrated the preparation of dishes including larp spicy minced fish meat, stir-fried fish meat in chilli paste and deep-fried fish meat with lemon sauce, all of which proved popular on the day.
Somsak said he had also assigned the provincial fishery office to consider using sucker fish as feed for crocodile farms.
The sucker fish, an alien species to Thailand, is known in Thai as pla tesaban (municipality fish).
Many Thais have tended to raise sucker fish, along with other pet fish, to clean the inside of their fish tanks, but when they get too big, they often then release them into natural water sources without realising or caring whether that would affect the environment and local species of fish.