Home News Cagayan Valley BFAR Cagayan Valley OKs P26 million project to conserve ‘ludong’

BFAR Cagayan Valley OKs P26 million project to conserve ‘ludong’

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 02 has approved a comprehensive plan amounting P26 million to conserve the famous lobed rover mullet or “ludong.”

In a press release, BFAR Region 2 Director Doctor Milagros Morales said in a press release that the funding makes them inches closer in their goal to close the life cycle of ludong and ensure the indigenous fish’s sustainability.

“We trust our researchers, scientists and collaborators to make this happen,” she added.

BFAR RO2 Training chief and national focal person on ludong Doctor Evelyn Ame said the project has three components and will build on the initial accomplishments made by the bureau under the “Oplan Sagip Ludong project” which was launched in 2010.

Senator Loren Legarda and Isabela First District Congressman Rodolfo Albano III supported the project.

Also known as the “President’s Fish,” ludong is a rare and indigenous fish that thrives in the headwaters of Cagayan River and its tributaries, extending through the Santa-Abra River Systems of Ilocos Sur and Abra, BFAR said.

The first component will focus on “Socio-cultural, Biological, and Environmental Studies.” Here, BFAR will conduct resource and socio-economic profiling, and assessment of fishing technologies along ludong fishing communities.

BFAR will also conduct biophysical assessment of selected ludong niches, larval survey of ludong, and taxonomic identification of ludong and ludong-like species.

In the release, Ame added that the studies shall enable the bureau to have more comprehensive information needed for the conservation of the species; and enable the agency to implement resource mobilization and livelihood opportunities to increase income of fisherfolk along ludong areas.

The second component is the ‘Establishment of Breeding Facility and Breeding in Captivity.” Under this, BFAR will establish a ludong facility in Claveria, Cagayan for artificial breeding of ludong.

Ame said this sub-activity will complement related initiatives being done by Isabela State University in Roxas, Isabela.

The final component is “Sanctuary Establishment, Regulatory and Livelihood.” The bureau said they will recommend to local government units concerned the establishment of ludong sanctuaries.

Fishery law enforcement training for river wardens will also be conducted, Ame said. She added that the wardens will be tasked to safeguard said sanctuaries and assist the agency in the enforcement of fishery regulations.

The ludong, being “catadromous,” makes its annual spawning run in time in its closed season from October 1 to November 15 each year.

During the fish’s closed season last year, Director Morales deployed 40 deputy fish wardens or ‘Bantay Laot’ protectors to augment quick response or law enforcement teams in the region’s waters.

The director said the “wardens” are provided minimal cash incentives of P3,000 per month and underwent training.

(READ: More ‘fingerlings’ dispersed as BFAR celebrates 54th fish conservation week)

In recent year’s the price of the Philippines’ most expensive food fish has reportedly reached almost P6,000 per kilo. Other reports state that a mature ludong weighs from 0.25 kilo to two kilos; and costs up to P10,000 a kilo, making it the most expensive fish in the country. Northernforum.net

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