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Strict Fishery Laws To Protect Lake Buhi

PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol has recommended the strict implementation of fishery laws to the local government of Buhi town in Camarines Sur to save Lake Buhi from further degradation.

In a position paper submitted to the municipal mayor and the Sangguniang Bayan of the said town, BFAR Bicol has reiterated that only 10 per cent of the total surface area of a lake can be utilised for aquaculture activities such as fish cage farming of tilapia, as provided by the provisions of Section 51 of the Philippine Fisheries Code.

BFAR Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro said that the bureau’s study shows that unregulated aquaculture activities in Lake Buhi such as illegal construction of fish cages, overstocking of fish and overfeeding produce high amounts of aquaculture wastes in the lake resulting to a series of massive fish kill incidents in the lake since October 29 last year.

Mr Del Socorro also said that personnel has presented to local officials of Buhi the recent research result of the Stocking and Feeding Experiment of the bureau and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) on the operation of fish cage in the lakes of Buhi and Bato from 2007 to 2009

The research study has revealed that overstocking of cages is one of the key practices of the fish farmers that need to be modified.

Mr Del Socorro explained that the study has conducted “stocking density trials on both lakes using 5, 10 and 15 tilapia fingerlings per cubic meter (m3). Stocks at 5 pcs/m3 were not given any commercial feed and relied solely on natural food in the lake while the 10 and 15 pcs/m3 had feeding. Results showed that the optimum stocking density for the two lakes is 10 pcs/m3. This is in terms of growth, survival, total yield and feed conversion ratio,” the study cited.

It also stated that fish reared at 5 pcs/m3 grew poorly and were not harvestable within the four months culture period indicating that natural food available in the two lakes could not sustain growth even at this stocking density within the prescribed culture period.

The same research discovered that in the feeding trials, four different feeding management schemes were employed in the two lakes with two feeding rates and two feeding schedules, namely: HD (high feeding rate, daily), HS (high feeding rate, skip), LD (low feeding rate, daily), and LS (low feeding rate, skip). In the skip feeding strategy, fish were fed only four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. From the results, LS is the recommended feeding strategy in terms of being the most economically viable and ecologically sound.

BFAR Bicol meanwhile has also assisted the local government in capacity building , including the re-organisation of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC) in 10 barangays and the Lakeside FARMC last month.

LFARMC is mandated by law to become the recommendatory-policy making body and adviser to the LGU on fishery-related matters based on Fisheries Administrative Order 196.

Moreover, the bureau has provided resource persons on the Training on Lake Resource Management and Fishery Law Enforcement.

Mr DelSocorro said that Lake Buhi’s rehabilitation will depend on the strict and full implementation of fishery laws coupled with the full support of the people of Buhi and other stakeholders.

the Fish Site Editor

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