TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) found 39 fish and shellfish species which are on the verge of extinction after conducting an inventory in the rivers of Northern Luzon.
BFAR Region 2 Director Jovita Ayson said the bureau conducted the inventory of endangered freshwater species “to ensure that they are able to survive and given necessary conservation measures.”
Ayson said the 39 fish and shellfish species identified as endemic and endangered include native hito (catfish), dalag (mudfish), gurami and trumpet snail locally known as agurong.
Lawyer Asis Perez, BFAR national director, said that aside from ludong, which is the country’s most expensive fish, there are other indigenous and endemic fish species that also need conservation and protection measures that are found in the rivers of Northern Luzon.
Ludong is a rare and indigenous fish that thrives in the headwaters of Cagayan River and Bantay Santa of the Abra River system in the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Abra. It is catadromous which means it thrives in freshwater but migrates to marine or sea water to spawn.
Perez said part of the inventory is the identification of areas of which these fish species are rare or thrives in abundance.
“In Cagayan Valley, we have already started our move to ensure the survival and reproduction of the county’s indigenous fish species, their population of which are now dwindling,” Ayson said.
She said they already crafted their long-term conservation plan to prevent the “total extinction” of these species in their natural habitat.
“We are very optimistic that with the BFAR’s intensified campaign against the use of blast fishing and electro-fishing gadgets, these identified species population will increase,” Ayson said.