TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: As part of the government’s conservation effort, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the region has deployed law enforcers to protect the most expensive fresh water species.
BFAR Director Milagros Morales said that a group of law enforcement officers on board a patrol vessel are now on guard against catchers of Ludong (Cestraeus plicatilis) or President’s Fish along Cagayan River.
Morales said the exorbitant market price of Ludong at P4,000 to P5,000 makes it attractive for fishers despite the dangers posed by rough weather that coincides with the Ludong spawning run.
Last year, BFAR imposed a ban on catching Ludong under Administrative Circular 247 from October 1 to November 15, which shall be observed thereafter every year.
The circular prohibits individuals, associations or corporations from catching Ludong in Cagayan River and its tributaries, headwaters and watersheds as well as in Abra River and its tributaries extending to Santa River in Ilocos Sur and the Cordillera Region.
Evelyn Ame, Fisheries Resources Management Division chief, said floodwaters during the onslaught of Typhoon Lando may have carried gravid Ludong from their habitat in Isabela and Quirino provinces to the mouth of the Cagayan River near the estuary of Aparri or in the slat water to spawn.
“Most Ludong caught along the Cagayan River and its tributaries from October to January are gravid. Catching them on this stage will hinder their natural reproduction, thus the need of implementing the Ludong ban by sending law enforcers,” Ame said.
She said that under the said Ludong ban, it is illegal to catch the fish within the 45-day period in order to preserve the species.
Fisherfolks affected by the ban were assisted by the BFAR through livelihood activities like propagating bamboos and planting them along the stretch of the Cagayan River.