THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is seeking out means to conserve several fish species in Cagayan Valley, which have been identified as endangered, some are becoming totally extinct.
Dr. Jovita Ayson, BFAR director for Region 2, said these fish species extinction is caused by several factors, which include habitat loss.
These species are paltat (native catfish), gurami (snake-skinned gourami), igat or sihin (eel), mori (goby), ludong (mullet), bisukul (native snail), cabibi (clam) and udang or ulang (giant freshwater prawn).
BFAR said that these eight freshwater species are endemic in the region are now threatened or endangered owing to their vanishing population in recent years.
Also called President’s Fish or Pacific Salmon with a market value of at least P5,000 per kilogram, Ludong (Cestraeus sp) is identified as the most endangered or nearing extinction.
Experts in fisheries in the region said ludong which used to thrive along the rivers in northern Isabela to the mouth of the Cagayan River is in danger of becoming totally extinct.
”This is why we have launched a more integrated effort to bring back those threatened species in the region into their normal numbers in their respective habitats,” Ayson said.
She said a program dubbed “Assessment, Biology and Conservation of Endemic Species in Region 02: Towards Sustainable Management of Endemic Species,” was launched to save these fish species classified as “endangered endemic” and “endangered economically.”
“These are important species on which folks in the region depend for food and livelihood; we don’t want these species to be gone in the wind,” Ayson said.
She said the BFAR has also formulated a management plan as well as research measures to preserve these—once abundant species—from extinction.
”We are doing this in collaboration with various state colleges and universities as well as other government agencies like the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] and private conservationist groups,” Ayson said.