Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
May 30, 2012
LLDA, BFAR unify actions to solve lake problems
With the continued rise in fish mortalities and increase in catch of knife fishes in the country’s largest lake, government authorities agreed to join forces today to effectively address and prevent problems that would affect the livelihoods and fish supply in the region and in Metro Manila as well.
Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and concurrent Laguna Lake Development Authority General Manager Neric Acosta and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director, Atty. Asis G. Perez met with local officials of Calamba and fisherfolk representatives to discuss areas of cooperation and complementation.
Perez said that initially, the BFAR deployed on the same day three (3) units of patrol boats to be manned by some members of its Fish Health and Quick Response Team. They will assist a multi-agency team to be created and that will respond to fish kill situations, undertake water quality monitoring and provide early warnings to prevent the occurrence of other untoward incidences.
During the dialogue, local fishermen said that fish mortalities commonly occur during the end of the summer season towards the onset of the rainy season; however the situation is worsened by the appearance of more and more knife fishes in the lake.
Catch estimates of this carnivorous species by local fishermen indicate that knife fish can reach up to thirty percent of their total harvest with individual fish weighing as much as 10 to 20 kilos. The increase in the population of knife fish in the lake appears to reduce the catches of local fish species such as tilapia, bangos, carp, ayungin, shrimps and the like as the latter are being eaten by the said exotic fish.
BFAR-National Inland Fisheries Technology Center ’s initial biological study of knife fishes revealed the presence of fish remains in the stomach, particularly of kanduli, a native catfish, small fishes, shrimps and shells, among others.
The study also showed that the fish can spawn naturally in the lake and the eggs are found adhering in bamboo stakes and poles locally known as tulos used in fish pens and fish cages.
Perez said that with these findings, the collection and destruction of the eggs will provide a better means of decimating the knife fish in the lake in addition to the harvesting of the adult fish.
“A clump of eggs may number several thousands, and if we would be able to get rid of these, we will be more effective in significantly reducing the knife fish population in the lake”, Perez said.
Both officials, together with fisherfolk representatives and local heads inspected the fish pens and fish cages in the area and agreed that management measures have to be established in order for fish production to be more efficient and sustainable. (BFAR Information Group)
Director Asis G. Perez, BFAR
Melanie R. Guerra, BFAR Information Group Chief