Tilapia has never been on this writer’s plate. Though it is readily available at area grocery stores, mine eyes have always seen the locally produced catfish and flounder instead and, after a fishing trip, speckled trout and redfish.
Now, talapia is pushing that nuisance nutria out of the way as the number one pest of our wetlands. It has its advantages because it is a great cleaner upper of waterways. In fact, it eats up everything in sight and runs other fish away, including our favorite table fare.
Like the nuisance nutria, it is not a native species but was brought here and left to escape into our wetlands. And due to its very rapid reproduction rate it is threatening other species.
It is proliferating in an area of Plaquemines Parish along the west bank of the Mississippi River. Since it can live and reproduce with lightning speed in fresh and brackish water, it could spread to unbearable proportions.
Now, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is planning to poison all animal creatures in the known infected areas as the only means of getting rid of the species. It may be too late because some may already have escaped to other waters.
We hope the effort works and the tilapia industry can stick to its well contained fishing farms. In the future we need to keep them out of here with well enforced regulations as to what is allowed to go into our waters. We’ll then continue to enjoy catching our trout and redfish and buying our catfish and flounder as we joyfully pass up the trays of tilapia at the grocery stores.
This week, Pope Benedict XVI is mingling among muslim and jewish leaders as well as other Christians in parts of the Mid-East. It is a much needed effort to bring some solidification among religions which share many of the same civilized beliefs that are much needed in our modern world.
We hope he will continue this practice in other areas. There is much that can be done to improve life in the world today.
Religions could unite people against warfare and other practices detrimental to the human race because they are universal and transcend national boundaries. And the Pope should lead the way in doing that.