• Rice eel export valued at $21 million

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    TUGUEGARAO CITY: In an effort to control the spread of an invasive fish species, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here has turned the menace rice eel known as “kiwet” into a billion peso export commodity.

    BFAR national director, lawyer Asis Perez, on Sunday said that from zero export value, rice eel or Monopterus albus has reached up to $21 million and is now exported to Singapore, China, Japan and other Asian countries.

    ”Two years following the [rice eel]massive infestation, the country is now profiting greatly from the said fish species, bringing in an estimated amount of P517 million in export value from January to June this year,” he said.

    Perez said BFAR employees in the region have developed an “efficient and environment-friendly fishing gear which enabled farmers to increase the catch by taking advantage of the nocturnal hunting behavior of the animal.”

    ”With the gear, fisher folks will be prevented from using electro-fishing gadgets in catching,” Perez said. However, he said the bureau will not allow the culture of the fish as these are invasive species.

    Meanwhile, BFAR’s Integrated Fish Processing Laboratory has conducted 50 rice eel processing trainings in different municipalities. Products like rice eel longganisa and nuggets are being promoted at processing centers.

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