THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Monday warned of possible shortage in fresh water fishes in the coming months if the unabated harvesting of escaped fishes at the Laguna de Bay and Taal Lake continues.
BFAR national director Atty. Asis Perez urged fishermen to control the catching and gathering of fresh water fishes to avoid possible shortage of supply as a result of overfishing.
“If they continue to overfish in these areas, then we will have a shortage of fish in Metro Manila and nearby provinces within the next three months,” Perez said.
Typhoon Glenda (international codename: Rammasun) destroyed hundreds of hectares of cages and fish pens in regions 3, 4A and 5. This resulted to various fresh waters fish species to escape to the surrounding waters.
The loss to fisheries sector at Laguna de Bay (53,916 metric tons) and Taal Lake (20,745 MT) totaled P2.5 billion.
Perez said the volume of escaped fish resulted to surge in local fishes, which are now being sold in major markets in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“We are not stopping fishermen from catching these escaped fish since it’s now owned by the public. But we are appealing for them to establish proper control measures to ensure that the supply will not be depleted,” Perez said.
BFAR’s latest price monitoring showed a kilo of milk fish (bangus) dropped to P30 per kilo from P120, less than a week after the typhoon while tilapia now sells for P30 to P40 per kilo compared to P90 to P100 before the typhoon.
Despite the low price, Perez said majority of the catch became stale and practically worthless since most of the markets where the fishes were sold have no electricity to preserve the fishes in refrigerators.
“Even at P10 per kilo, no one is buying these fishes. It is important for the fishermen to understand that they are only wasting valuable resources. That’s why we have issued an advisory for them to control the fishing activities,” Perez said.
“The local fishermen are now the owner of these fishes. If they want to benefit, then they should start managing their catch,” he added.
Perez said BFAR is now coordinating with local government units for information campaign on the importance of the escaped fish for buffer stocks.