The Siamese fighting fish is set become Thailand’s national aquatic animal, once approved by the Cabinet, PM’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said yesterday.
He was speaking as deputy chairman of the National Identity Committee, which yesterday backed a proposal of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry’s Fishery Department that the world-famous colourful fish become a national emblem.
Suwaphan said department representatives and academics had presented information on the proposal at the meeting, chaired by the committee’s chief Deputy Prime Ministr Wissanu Krea-Ngam.
“Our culture and history offer proof that the Siamese fighting fish has existed in Thai history, literature and records for a long time,” he added.
The information also showed that the source of the fighting fish is the Chao Phraya River, Suwaphan said, adding that the fish’s name also justified forwarding the proposal to Cabinet.
The idea was first put forward last year by director general of the Fishery Department Adisorn Promthep, who said the recognition would help preserve Siamese fighting fish in Thailand.
The fish is mentioned in records dating back to the Ayutthaya period. Historically it was bred for sports but nowadays most people raise the fish as a hobby.
Growing trade in Siamese fighting fish generates about Bt1 billion per year globally, with that figure projected to reach Bt3 billion in the next few years.