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Illegal fish cages in Taal Lake dismantled

By Marrah Erika Lesaba
Inquirer Southern Luzon
First Posted 15:55:00 04/10/2011

Filed Under: Lake, Fishing, Government, business, Environmental Issues, Philippines - Regions

TALISAY, Batangas, Philippines?The Task Force Taal Lake has started dismantling the illegal fish cages set up in the lake.

The fish cages were destroyed because of the owners? failure to put up the P10,000 bond required by the provincial government, said Jose Toreja, the community development officer of the provincial government?s environment and natural resources office (PGENRO).

Nineteen fish cages were dismantled on Thursday and Friday, four of which were made of steel and the rest of bamboo, said Toreja.

Six business plates for the fish cages were confiscated, as they were being passed around by the illegal fish cage owners to show to the province?s wrecking crew and avert the dismantling of their illegal structures, said a staff at the Provincial Information Office.

According to Rosario Del Mundo, provincial fisheries officer of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), 6,000 fish cages are allowed at Taal Lake, 2,000 of them in the Talisay area.

Toreja said that each fish cage, with a size not exceeding 100 square meters, has been allowed to produce 30,000 kilos of fish, either bangus (milkfish) or tilapia, for each harvest season, lasting three to four months.

There have been, however, many fish cage owners operating in the area without a mayor?s permit.

On March 1, 2011, the fish cage owners entered into a memorandum of understanding with the provincial government and the municipal government of Talisay that they would put up the bond on or before April 6, and secure the required permit within a 90-day period or up to the end of May. The bond will be returned to the fish case owner once the permit has been secured.

The province decided to start dismantling the illegal fish cages because only 30 to 40 operators in the Talisay area have so far put up a bond or secure a permit as of April 6, said Toreja.

Controlling the number of fish cages along Taal Lake is important because fishes cultivated in the lake have turned ?lasang liya? (have started to taste like mud) because of fish congestion and the consequent dumping of too much feeds, noted a provincial information office staff who asked not to be named, not having been authorized to talk to the media about the issue.

Del Mundo, sought for comment, confirmed the problem with the taste of the fish. He added that the introduction of fingerlings coming from other lakes in Laguna have contributed to the problem.

She also stressed the need to control the number of fish cages in the lake because congestion could result in a massive fish kill, such as what happened at Taal Lake in 2008.



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