Fight Invasive Armored Catfish

Target: Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources

Goal: Remove invasive fish species that is destroying freshwater habitats.

Armored catfish are wreaking havoc in Mexico’s waterways. Pez diablo, or devil fish, as they are called by the locals, are destroying delicate ecosystems. They have also significantly reduced the productivity of local fisheries, which many people rely on for their livelihoods.

Native to South America, armored catfish are now doing major damage in Mexico, Texas, and Florida. Although it is often difficult to estimate their populations, a study on the San Marcos River in Texas found that armored catfish made up about half of all fish in the river by weight. Armored catfish eat mainly algae, which is an important food source for many other river creatures. Although these fish are quite small (one of the largest ever recorded weighed only about six pounds), they multiply rapidly, laying as many as 500 eggs at a time. In addition to consuming valuable food sources, armored catfish also build their nests by burrowing into riverbanks. This weakens the banks, causing them to fall into the river, reducing water quality and further harming native fish. Armored catfish are thought to be a major threat to the endangered Devil’s River minnow.

Sign this petition to urge Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources to take action against this dangerous invasive species.


Dear Secretary Alamán,

Invasive armored catfish are damaging Mexico’s waterways. They are threatening native species and destroying once-productive fisheries. In one reservoir, fishermen’s catch decreased by over 80 percent after armored catfish took over. Armored catfish not only decrease the populations of other marketable fish, but also become entangled in fishing nets and destroy them. Economic losses from armored catfish are estimated to be around $16.4 million, mostly from commercial fishing losses. Thousands of people in the Balsas Basin have been negatively impacted by commercial fishing losses, and this area has experienced higher rates of unemployment.

Little research exists on how to exterminate this dangerous invasive species. Currently, the best strategy may be to market them as food, which has been problematic due to the stigma around eating armored catfish. I ask that as Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, you fund programs to research how to eradicate this fish and how to decrease the stigma around eating them, so that the armored catfish population can be decreased while also providing a valuable source of protein for human consumption.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bishoy Zak

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  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    save them

  2. Please place them back in the natural habit, it was probably humans who introduced them in the first place!

  3. Why are we being asked to sign a petition for the eradication of a species of fish? I’m confused. I thought the purpose of this site was quite the opposite.

  4. There’s an analogy in here somewhere….

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