Connect with us

Thai Life

Keep it Green: Introduction of alien invaders

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: One hot and dusty afternoon years ago I was driving along a remote Colorado road when I passed a large wayside bundle. Curious, I stopped. It was a huge carp, out of its natural element but still gasping for air under a blazing sun. I picked the slimy thing up, all of thirty pounds, wrapped it in a towel and dropped it into the next river we came to. It may well have survived the ordeal, for carp are tough, one of the reasons why they have become so reviled in North America.

Mostly grass, black or silver carp from Asia, they are indiscriminate feeders, grow fast, adapt to conditions where there is little oxygen, can colonize almost any body of water and compete successfully with more desirable native fish.

Asians eat carp but Americans do not: doubtless the fisherman who had slung it out of his pickup had no interest in cooking it for dinner. Indeed, there is a senate-led campaign to try to limit the carp’s habitat and especially to stop it from invading the Great Lakes, where salmon and trout rule the roost.

The story can be repeated literally hundreds of times around the globe. In fact, the real culprits are not the creatures themselves but mankind, who by introducing these alien species, either by accident or design, has played havoc with a fragile biodiversity established over millions of years.

In general, Thailand has been less affected by invasive aliens. Part of the reason for this may reside in the Thai predilection for seeing creatures – birds, reptiles, mammals and insects alike – as readily available sources of food.

The presence of invasive plants, moreover, is rarely critical.

In Phuket, I would only point an accusatory finger at one plant – the water hyacinth (eichornia crassipes). Originally from the Amazon basin, it has become a pernicious presence here. In Phuket Town, it has blocked canals by a presence that not only clogs the water, but impedes the passage of boats, provides a prime habitat for mosquitoes, and, most importantly, kills off fish by starving the water of life-giving oxygen.

It’s an ill wind, as the water hyacinth is used elsewhere for fuel, fertilizer and even for making woven furniture and bags. But the downside, as with most of these invaders, far outweighs the benefit. Meddling man is at it again…

If you have gardening or environmental concerns, contact Patrick at

— Patrick Campbell


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand2 hours ago

Tourism officials eye August reopening under “Pattaya Move On” travel scheme

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Covid vaccine for foreigners, PM “not going anywhere”, Boss update | June 15

Best of3 hours ago

Top 8 Affordable Hotels to stay in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand3 hours ago

Central Bankruptcy Court approves Thai Airways debt restructuring plan

Best of3 hours ago

Top 5 secret islands and beaches in Thailand

Best of3 hours ago

5 best national parks in Phuket

Thailand4 hours ago

Australian man arrested for alleged child sex abuse in Thai border town

Best of4 hours ago

10 best fruits and vegetables in Thailand

Thailand4 hours ago

3 dead in 3 truck crash in Surat Thani

Thailand4 hours ago

Bangkok Post and Fazwaz join together to galvanise property listings platform

Bangkok5 hours ago

CCSA has yet to begin talks on lifting alcohol ban at Bangkok restaurants

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Yala enters lockdown today

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai police say they’ve gathered “strong evidence” on transnational drug trade

Phuket6 hours ago

Indonesian fisherman rescued after 9 days adrift at sea

Thailand6 hours ago

More than 100 cats rescued from owner

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8