DA plans to restock lakes, rivers with fingerlings

Posted on April 25, 2017

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has launched a program to stock fingerlings of indigenous and non-invasive fish species in major river basins and lakes over the next five years.

Fishpens on Laguna de Bay from the Pililla shore
The Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) project, part of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ National Inland Fisheries Enhancement Program, hopes to revitalize inland bodies of water which “no longer have the same amount of fish population as they had many years ago” due to the use of chemicals in agriculture and illegal fishing methods,” according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.

“Overfishing and the use of illegal and destructive fishing methods have virtually decimated the indigenous fish species in the major lakes and rivers of the country,” Mr. Piñol was quoted in the DA statement released Monday.

He said the department has identified seven major lakes and six major river basins all over the country as the initial areas targeted for the fingerlings spawning project.

These include Laguna de Bay, Lake Lanao, Taal Lake, Lake Mainit, Naujan Lake, Buluan Lake and Lake Sebu.

Meanwhile, the major river systems to be part of the project are the Cagayan River, Mindanao River, Agusan River, Pampanga River, Abra River and Bicol River.

The department will introduce some 26 million fingerlings by the end of 2018, rising to around 210 million by 2022.

Among the indigenous species which will be reared into the lakes and rivers are Ayungin, Biya, Kanduli, Martinique, native catfish or Hito and the black head eel or Igat.

Acceptable fish species which are not considered threats to the ecological balance such as Tilapia and Bangus will also be introduced.

The agency will be preparing communities near the lakes and rivers to handle activities needed to ensure the smooth implementation of the project.

Mr. Piñol added that Project BASIL will start in Laguna de Bay this year to address the fish supply deficit in Metro Manila due to the dismantling of several fish pens in the lake. -- Janina C. Lim