CONTINUING FIGHT AGAINST INVASIVE FISHES IN THE LAGUNA LAKE

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Continuing Fight against Invasive Fishes in the Laguna Lake

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) continues to work hand-in-hand with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and other government agencies to address the threats brought by invasive fishes in the Laguna Lake.

On May 26 and 27, experts and stakeholders gathered to hold the 2nd National Forum on Invasive Fishes in Baras, Rizal. They all agree that there is an urgent need to stop the population growth of invasive fishes in the Laguna Lake in order to protect the Lake’s ecological balance and stop further economic damage brought by the foreign species.

In a report by BFAR and DOST, 44 percent of fishermen are adversely affected by invasive fishes like knife fish (chitala ornata). One (1) kilogram of knife fish consumes seven (7) kilograms of indigenous fishes. The average market price of a kilogram of knife fish is 20 pesos, while the average price per kilogram of various indigenous species is 120 pesos. Therefore a fisher folk loses an estimated 1,030 pesos in income for every kilogram of knife fish.

In Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and LLDA General Manager Sec. Neric O. Acosta’s keynote message delivered by Ms. Maristel Espiritu LLDA OIC Assistant General Manager for Operations, he reiterated the importance of water to the success of civilizations, from the ancient to the modern. “Our ecology is the basis of our economy,” he said. He further stressed the importance to the development of our ecology and environment of science-based technologies and solutions coupled by sound and effective environmental and economic policies and implementation. “Magwawagi lang po tayo kung meron tayong tama at sapat na armas tulad ng dunong at teknolohiya na batay sa agham, mga angkop na batas at patakaran na isinatutupad ng buo, at epektibong environmental policy and governance para sa matatag at bumabagay na kaunlaran ng ating lipunan at kalikasan.”

Some of the solutions to the infestation of invasive fishes include massive retrieval of the knife fish from the Lake, through a collaboration of LLDA, BFAR, 12 Local Government Units, and FARMCs. The affected fisher folk are given provisions for livelihood and economic use of the catch such as training on processing, Egg for Cash, and distribution of fishing gears. Other solutions also involve intervention in the life cycle of the knife fish through various methods of killing its eggs and preventing them from hatching.

Other invasive fishes in the Laguna Lake include jaguar guapote (parachromis managuensis), giant Thai snakehead (channa micropeltes), Gloria (sarotherodon melanotheron), janitor fish (pterygoplichtys pardalis), and walking catfish (clarias batrachus).

Ms. Jocelyn Sta. Ana, OIC ELRD-RMDD of LLDA is among those who presented. She discussed the Janitor Fish Infestation of the Marikina River System on the second day of the Forum.

The Technical Working Group is comprised of LLDA, BFAR, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Technical Education and Skills Development Agency (TESDA), and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC).


More information on invasive fishes is available at
www.invasivesihses.bfar.da.gov.ph and www.invasivefishesbfar.blogspot.com.