BANGKOK — The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Siamese fighting fish to become Thailand’s national aquatic animal.
Grisada Boonrach, agriculture and cooperatives minister, said the colorful and violently territorial fish was chosen as it’s a native, unique species to the kingdom’s waters and an important animal for Thailand’s economy.
The decision came after the National Identity Committee, which promotes Thai cultural pride, forwarded its endorsement of the fighting fish in December to the cabinet.
The Siamese fighting fish was registered as intangible cultural heritage by the Cultural Ministry in 2013. Its designation as Thailand’s national aquatic animal could help boost both conservation efforts and commercial breeding.
Its bright colors makes the fish popular in home and office aquariums, while the aggression between males make them popular with gamblers.
The fish is the first national aquatic animal to be designated. Elephants are, of course, the kingdom’s national animal.