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BFAR recommends 2-year ban on fish cages in Buhi

By Mark Gomez

"Ban fish cages" in Lake Buhi for two years.

This is the recom-mendation of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Bicol regional office to the local government unit (LGU) of Buhi, as a last recourse to save Lake Buhi from the destruction due to pollution, which is caused primarily by fish cage operators who violated existing local and national regulations on fisheries. Nonie P. Enolva, BFAR Bicol spokesperson said.

Enolva, who attended the committee hearing of the Sangguniang Bayan on Dec. 10, said BFAR’s recommendation for a two-year ban on the operation of fish cages is premised on saving the lake from dying due to pollution.

The proposed ban for a two-year period will take effect starting April 11, 2021 to give the lake sufficient time to recover.

Meanwhile, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (BFAR) also recommended to the Buhi LGU to strictly implement the provision of the Fishery Code of the Philippines that only 10 percent of the lake area be allocated for fish culture.

The PAMB also passed a resolution relative to the procedures that need to be taken by the LGU to address the deteriorating quality of water of the lake in order to preserve and sustain the continued existence of “sinarapan,” the smallest fish in the world.

Ronilo Real, Lake Buhi development officer, promised to submit to the committee the actual inventory fish cages in Lake Buhi on Jan. 20, 2021 including the actual lake area presently occupied by these fish cages.

Based on Real’s estimate, there are some 15,000 fish cages operating in lake. If the provision of the fishery code, which limits to 10 percent of the lake’s area for fish culture is strictly implemented, some 7,500 fish cages need to be removed or demolished.

Katherine Martinez , chairperson of the SB Committee on Lake Development, said she will request the municipal council to pass a resolution forwarding the recommendations of BFAR and PAMB to the chief local executive relative to the lake issues.

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