By Samuel M. Toledo
LEGAZPI CITY (03-Sept-2012/PNA) – After years of impasse, the plan to save the gradually dwindling population of the world’s smallest commercial fish, Pandaka Pygmaea, known locally as “sinarapan,” has been finally crafted.
Gilbert Gonzales, Bicol Regional Executive Director (RED) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said the fish will be re-populated in at least three lakelets.
The management plan mapped out the step-by-step schemes in transferring live “sinarapan” to Manapaw and Makuwaw in Barangay San Ramon, and Lake Katugday in Barangay Dela Fe, both in Buhi town in Camarines Sur.
An experiment to repopulate sinarapan was done in early 2000 in these lakelets by scientists of Bicol University (BU). The experiment was successful it prompted the Lake Buhi’s stakeholders to come up with the latest plan.
Gonzales said the five-year management plan, to be led by DENR’s Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS), would pave the way for the conservation and preservation of sinarapan, a fish specie that earned the Philippines the prestige as the “home of the world’s smallest commercial fish.”
Sinarapan’s population in Lake Buhi gradually dwindled in number due to unabated fish cage operations of carp and tilapia, and the presence of shrimps that feed on the smallest fish.
The feeds coming from the fish cages, which already occupied up to 70 percent of the lake, are also believed to cause poisoning of the sinarapan.
“We anticipate that this management plan of repopulating the remaining sinarapan to their new uncontaminated habitat will save these smallest fish specie from extinction,” Gonzales said.
The agencies that worked in coming up with the plan included the Buhi local government, officials of San Ramon and Dela Fe villages, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine National Police (PNP), some non-government organizations (NGOs), and representatives from fish cage owners’ associations.(PNA)