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Appeal to President over Threat to Fish Pens

PHILIPPINES - Fish farmers in Laguna Lake have called on the Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stop the Laguna Lake Development Authority from dismantling their structures.

The pen owners say the move will mean the loss of jobs and a fish shortage that could affect Metro Manila and other nearby areas. According to The INquirer Mariano Filart, a retired police official, who heads the Fishpen and Fishcage Operators Associations of Laguna de Bay (FFOALB), said they have written to Ms Arroyo last month after Environment Secretary Lito Atienza declared his intention to clear the lake of illegal structures.

The environment secretary had accused the fish pens of polluting the water.

“In light of the current Philippine situation, where we are experiencing rice and food shortages and the compounding rise in the cost of fuel and electricity, it would indeed help if government [stops] the demolition of fish pens and fish cages which are major sources of cheap bangus and tilapia, until such time that the government can show the development of alternative areas devoted to aquaculture,” the group’s letter read.

View the Inquirer story by clicking here.