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Guangzhou using invasive species against mosquito-borne fever

GUANGZHOU, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Southern Chinese authorities' introduction of an invasive fish species to combat a surge in dengue fever has sparked fears that the practice will break the environmental balance.

The water bureau in Guangzhou Municipality, China's third-largest city, has reacted to the mosquito-borne disease by adding mosquitofish to "controllable static waters." While the fish are named for their diet of mosquito larvae, they are also known for harming indigenous species worldwide.

Professors of environmental studies at local universities including the the renowned Sun Yat-Sen University have cautioned against the move.

"The best solution to the dengue problem is to improve the overall environment. Introducing foreign species must be meticulous. The impacts must be controlled," said Li Yanliang, chairman of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association.

Although the bureau said limiting the number of mosquitofish would ensure that the environment is not affected, it told Xinhua it did not know how many of the fish it had thrown into Guangzhou waters.

Local media reported one district in Guangzhou received more than 54,000 mosquitofish.

Guangzhou has seen a rise in dengue fever cases since September, with over 27,000 cases reported.

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