Piñol says tearing down fishpens to boost aqua and mariculture
Fishpens in Laguna de Bay and other lakes in the country crowd out other species and the order to dismantle could even help boost the country’s aqua and mariculture.
“The decision of the President to dismantle the fishpens in Laguna de Bay and in other lakes of the country could in fact serve as a boon to the growth and development of aqua and mariculture in the country,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said. “This development could give birth to an eco-friendly fish farming system which could prove to be sustainable.”
Piñol said inland waters and lakes should not be used for commercial aqua and mariculture because it destroys its ecological balance.
Laguna de Bay, however, supplies 36 percent of the bangus and tilapia sold in Metro Manila’s wet markets and dismantling the fishpens will disrupt supply and even drive prices up.
To address the supply concerns, Piñol is looking to develop Norwegian type fish cages where bangus and tilapia can be grown that can also be used for more expensive species like Lapu lapu.
He is also tapping the expertise of a Fil Am fish farmer to introduce an eco-friendly fish farming technology that uses solar energy to pump underground water into fish tanks. The water is then purified and recycled to grow plants.
“There are two options that I am now working on to turn the Laguna de Bay fishpens closure crisis into opportunities,” Piñol said.
“Imagine if this could be done in communities surrounding the Laguna de Bay or even along the banks of Marikina River or along the Manggahan Spillway which brings Marikina River’s excess waters to the Bay. This would be a profitable aquaculture industry which would supply Metro Manila with fresh and clean fish, unlike the fish coming from the Bay right now which stinks.”