VIGAN CITY, April 18 (PIA) — Public consultations in the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Abra will start to roll for a proposal to prohibit the catching of “ludong” or freshwater mullet during the last quarter of the year.
“Ludong,” considered endangered by the Department of Agriculture, is endemic to Cagayan River and its tributaries extending to the river systems of Ilocos Sur and Abra.
Dr. Honorio P. Yamoyam, of the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Cordillera, said the bureau has proposed a closed season for catching the endangered fish from October 1 to December 31 of every year, considered the fish reproduction cycle.
Yamoyam noted studies showing that the last quarter of the year is Ludong’s complete reproduction cycle from egg-laying to hatching at the mouth of the Abra River.
The mouth of the Abra River covers the towns of Santa, Bantay, Caoayan and Vigan City all in Ilocos Sur.
“At the onset (of the third quarter of the year), the ‘ludong’ goes downstream to the mouth of the Abra River to lay their eggs. The fish will return upstream after its eggs are totally hatched by the end of the quarter,” he said.
The river upstream traverses at least 16 Abra towns namely San Quintin, Pidigan, La Paz, Bangued, Baay- Licuan, Tineg, Tubo, Lagayan, Manabo, Luba, Bucay, Boliney, Tayum, Dolores, San Juan and Lagangilang.
Yamoyam said affected fishermen must be made aware of the fish reproduction cycle and that regulatory measures are needed to prevent possible extinction of the so-called “President’s Fish.”
Ludong is considered as the country’s most expensive fish which fetches at P5,000 per kilo.
The DA-BFAR has been implementing the ‘Oplan Sagip Ludong’ in partnership with local governments, fishers’ groups and non-government groups to conserve and protect the endangered fish.
Yamoyam said the results of the consultations will be the basis to formulate a resolution for the fish conservation and protection. (MCA/FGL PIA- 1/ Ilocos Sur)