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South Africa: Invasive fish become lockdown food

Carps at Groenvlei lake   -  
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South Africa

The Groenvlei lake, in South Africa, is full of gleaming carps.

The fish were introduced in the 1800s and have proliferated so much that they threaten the lake's ecosystem.

So park managers like Thulani Ndlovu, an employee at CapeNature, are trying to curb numbers of the invasive species.

"We eradicate common carp, for the benefit of biodiversity here in Groenvlei, we donate it to our local communities."

The carps used to be turned into fertilizer. Now the fish help feeding the locals in Sedgefield, the closest town that heavily relies on tourism. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the industry has collapsed overnight.

"The fish is a relief," Louis Hendricks, a Smutsville resident, explained . 

"It is difficult with the lockdown for the children to get food, and money is scarce, so what can we do, but we are thankful for the fish."

The Groenvlei carps feed around 250 people a day. Mario Ferreira works with Gift of The Givers, a charity that organises distribution.

"The fish itself, needless to say it is all good, very good for human consumption, the locals actually love it," Ferreira said.

From an environmental endeavour, the eradication of the Groenvlei carps has become a much-needed social project.

The South African lockdown is now in its fifth month. The country has the highest numbers of coronavirus cases on the continent.

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