Ilocos Norte plots long-term plan to save exotic freshwater fish
The Ilocos Norte government, in collaboration with other local and national government agencies, has crafted a long-term plan to preserve the exotic freshwater fishes and shells in the province’s inland bodies of water.
Arthur Valente, the Provincial Fishery Coordinator under the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAG), said that part of the long-term plan was the establishment of brass parks and cages for breeding and seeding of various freshwater fishes, including shells in 21 towns and two cities of the province.
“As part of our resiliency program, we need to culture our indigenous fish species so that they will not go extinct,” said Valente , citing native ar-aru (climbong perch), gurami (gourami), dalag (mudfish), paltat (catfish) and mosquito fish among others, as already rare compared in the old days when they are always present on the Ilokano table.
Valente said that since 2016, pilot farms for the culture of carp, tilapia, and pangasius have been set up in the small water impounding projects located in Barangays Pimentel, Baoa, Dariwdiw, Nagbacalan and Magnuang, in support of the Department of Agriculture program dubbed as, “Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa” (Basil), where the country’s major river basins and lakes should be seeded with fingerlings of indigenous and non-invasive fish species.
The Basil program complements the National Inland Fisheries Enhancement Program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), to provide Filipinos greater access to available food and address poverty and hunger in the countryside. In the Philippines, the Basil project has identified at least seven major lakes and six major river basins as the initial areas targeted for the fingerlings seeding.
These include Laguna de Bay, Lake Lanao, Taal Lake, Lake Mainit in Surigao del Norte, Naujan Lake in Oriental Mindoro, Buluan Lake in Maguindanao and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato as well major rivers such as the Cagayan River Basin, Mindanao River Basin, Agusan River Basin, Pampanga River Basin, Abra River Basin and Bicol River Basin. Among the indigenous species which will be seeded in the lakes and rivers are Ayungin (silver perch), Biya (gobies), Kanduli (sea catfish), Martinique, the native catfish or Hito and the Black Head Eel or Egat.
In Ilocos Norte, local authorities have also included the culture of exotic freshwater shells such as birabid (rice field snails), agurong (black freshwater mollusk )and other native snails including freshwater plants like ballaiba, tarabang and bagot among others. (PNA)