Mass cobia invasion after fish farm breakout in Ecuador

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TENS of thousands of “nearly mature” cobia have escaped from an aquaculture facility off the coast of Ecuador and are making their way north at approximately 200 miles per month according to a report by US based magazine Sport Fishing.

Cobia are a pelagic fish found in all tropical and temperate waters around the world except, strangely enough, the Eastern Pacific.

However that could all be about to change as the farmed fish are on a rampage headed north, and Sport Fishing magazine's marine biology expert, Milton Love, rates them a 50/50 chance of reaching California.

Capable of breeding, these fish could be a major disturbance to local biodiversity.

One possible outcome “is for these fish to become well established and start chomping down on native species,” Love said.

Love also anticipates these sort of events increasing as aquaculture and its importance grow globally, with the appropriate regulations slow to maintain pace with the growth, particularly in the developing world.

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