NPR

Invasive 'Devil Fish' Plague Mexico's Waters. Can't Beat 'Em? Eat 'Em

The armored catfish erodes shorelines and devastates marine plants — and its numbers have exploded. So researchers, chefs and fishermen are trying to rebrand it by promoting its flavor and nutrition.
In trying to get people to eat the Pez Diablo, or suckermouth catfish, sustainable fisheries specialist Mike Mitchell says it isn't "a problem of biology or science, but marketing." Source: DeAgostini

Pez diablo: "devil fish." That's what locals in the Mexican state of Tabasco call the armored catfish that has invaded their waters.

Also known as suckermouths, the species is popular with aquarium owners because the fish eats the algae that pollute tanks. But in the wild, that same behavior erodes shorelines and devastates underwater plant life.

A Mexican social enterprise called Acari is trying to do something about it — by creating a taste for these aquatic terrors.

Francisco Mendoza, a 38-year-old fisherman from the village of Simón Sarlat in Tabasco, has fished in the region's lagoons and streams since he was 15.

"We didn't even know the fish before," Mendoza says. , or snook, used to be abundant..

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