View Poll Results: Do you agree to culture ornamental fish in the lakes?

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  • I agree!

    80 43.01%
  • I don't agree!

    106 56.99%
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  1. #1
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    BFAR's Ornamental Project in Laguna Lake

    This year we were invited to watch the launching of BFAR's ornamental fish project in Laguna lake. This project involves Bio Research who convinced BFAR and other government agencies that we should make use of our lakes and breed ornamental fish there. I remember two years ago BR's singaporean partner (now, no longer) said that we were sitting on a gold mine. Here's BFAR's press release on the project.

    http://www.bfar.da.gov.ph/news/mediakit(32607).htm

    We were witnesses to Bio Research donating a few goldfish to farmers. They put them in floating cages in the middle of the lake. Poor goldfishes. They can hardly swim because they were being swept away by the current. I personally thought this was ridiculous but I didn't say anything until I consulted some experts. While in Aquarama last May, I asked OFI (Ornamental Fish International) Sec. Gen., Alex Ploeg for his opinion on the project. This was his reply through email.

    "I have discussed this with our President Gerald Bassleer and he agrees with me that this way of producing ornamental fish is carrying great risks. The production and grow out in lakes not only involve very great risks of escapes, which might ruin the local fish populations, also there are sever risks of introducing and spreading of diseases. We strongly would recommend not to use this method for ornamental fish production."

    I recently wrote to BFAR Dir. Sarmiento to tell him what OFI thought about the project. Well, are we really sitting on a gold mine? What do you guys think of breeding goldfish and other ornamental fishes in the lake? Although this project has had some delays, I heard that this is still in line with BFAR's projects. Answer the poll and post your opinions.

  2. #2
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    thanks sir prez for this thread!

    as for me, any major undertaking, specially if it involves precious taxpayers' money, adequate research and consultations on its feasibility must be done. it is a must that experts from the field will be invited to brainstorm the pros and cons of the project so as not to waste money - which unfortunately has been the trend for most if not all of government offices.

    if this project in laguna is part of the feasibility study - which i hope it is, then lets have an open mind, wait for the results and give our thoughts based on the evidence at hand. if things turn out right, then a bigger project must be done and supported.

    i for one am supportive of any moves to promote the hobby and to provide extra income to fellow filipinos but undertaking an ill-designed activity is worse than not doing anything at all. i still hope something good comes out of this. who knows? remember, miracles do happen

    just my 10-cents worth of opinion


    Nemo PALHS impune lacessit (no one injures PALHS with impunity)




  3. #3
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    Well, three things:
    1. The Philippines is well-known for its many beautiful fishes. To introduce foreign species (accidentally or otherwise) is detrimental to the local biotope.
    2. I recently had a meeting with the architect in charge of the rehabilitation of the Pasig river. It seems DENR's goal of zero-fishpen in Laguna de Bay seriously opposes this undertaking.
    3. We know what happened (and still happening) in our lakes from the introduction of commercial fishing. Fishpens or other contraptions (craftily renamed floating cages here) is not a viable solution. If they want to breed goldfish or other fauna, they can do so by pumping water from the lake, channeling it through their ponds and out to farming irrigation instead.
    Just my two cents.
    going back to planted tank soon.

  4. #4
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    I think they should first test the water in Laguna Lake before they even embark on anything there. I got word about 3 weeks ago that there is about 10km of garbage lying at the bottom of a portion of the lake. The garbage in the said area has rendered the water in the area un pottable. I also was informed by another party that the DO levels in Laguna Lake is only at 12%. Which is very low for anything to thrive.

    Here's my take, the situation in the lake alone isn't ideal for aquarium fish. See, you're falling into this trap of low cost growing methods at the expense of extremely poor efficiency. Doing this makes you very very very inefficient. This is the exact same model the Candaba Swamp tilapia farmers are doing. The normal inland farmer grows his tilapia in 3 months. The Candaba Swamp farmer takes between 6 to 8 months to grow his tilapia. Tilapia are hardy fish, and ornamental fish aren't so what do you expect the mortality rate to be like? Probably a lot higher.

    In my observation, inland mud pond growing is still the best way to go. The farmer gets to control the situation this way. I once experimented with crack drying and not crack drying my grow out ponds and tried to see if there really is a difference in growth rates for the fish. The experience showed me that the crack drying help revive the fertility of the pond. You don't get to crack dry a lake. Btw, crack drying is the process by which you drain the pond as much as you can and have the sun set on it for a long as you can stand it. The reason is called crack drying is because when the soil gets so fry, it cracks.

    Next, people factor, you are a big group of farmers there. What happens if there is a fish kill? The situation in the lake has a lot of IFs. Waht if someone introduces infected fry. So who's to blame? Will the farmers start pointing fingers at each other? How can they know who's fish started what disease?

    Inland mud pond farming is what other countries are doing. We should not try to reinvent what is already successful. BFAR should look long term, not short term. Find idle gov't land in Laguna. Where the soil is ideal for freshwater fish farming. Come up with a plan and all, pond size, pond depth, water supply, etc. Rent it out per pond.

  5. #5
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    As a new member, I would like to speak up and say that it is never a good idea to introduce a new species into an ecosystem that (should be) is already balanced. The possibility of escape is guaranteed, really. And the potential loss of possibly some indigenous species is quite high. I would think that it would be much better to breed ornamental fish in aquaria.

    Its easy to bread certain cichlids, fighting fish, hillstream loaches, discus, and other kinds of fish. Yet we still predominantly import our fish.

    I think that they should, instead, bring their focus towards backyard breeders and find a way to make that hobby a feasible money-earning business as it is in other asian countries.

    In a parallel, I think we should also devote more time towards studying and making a catalogue of the species of fish that we have available in the rivers and lakes whose ecosystems we have not yet destroyed.
    "Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." -Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi

    "We dance around in a ring and suppose, while the secret sits in the middle and knows." -Robert Frost

  6. #6
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    I agree with sir rocco. Focus must be given to farm owners and backyard breeders because I think they are more equiped with the knowledge and skills to make this project successful.

    And remember, they have not yet solved the problem caused by the janitor fish and golden kuhol and here comes another one.

  7. #7
    gantonio Guest
    I like to read discussions like these because it tells me that there is a growing environmental awareness of the real situation of Laguna lake.

    For me. . . .Laguna lake . . .
    Is a big sewage tank similar to Manila Bay.
    Consider it brackish because of salt water intrusions during high tide.
    Fish pens are abundant and I'm not sure whether it is really regulated by LLDA and BFAR. Maximum coverage is supposed to be 10% of total area for sustainability. Judging from the view up in the air, I estimate the fish pens to cover 1/3 of the entire area.
    Not to mention the industrial wastes coming from nearby factories that goes into it.
    With all things that has happened to the lake, it will be a miracle to find endemic species.
    In short Laguna Lake is saturated by my standards. Adding more fish pens will make it worse.

    In addition, based on what I've learned from aquaculture articles that promote sustainability;
    1. Fish pens are not environmentally sustaining. Regulating fish pens is thus an imperative.
    2. Recirculating Aquaculture Systems like the aquaponics is the future. Hope we should learn more about this. Australia is the leading country when it comes to aquaponics. I am now growing pechay under this system. It is still in the experimental stage and I'm learning a lot.
    Requires some investment though - my dictum of Planning for the Future and Acting Today.

    Oops, sorry for the jabberings. Just inspired !

  8. #8
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    BR together with BFAR and LLDA put up a few fishpens with some ornamental fishes a year ago in laguna de bay but the pens were destroyed by Milenyo. During the launch, they did not mention what data they have collected to prove that this project will be successful. There must be some pressure somewhere because they still pushed through with it.

    Uno is right about testing the water first. Testing should be done throughout the year because water temp, oxygen level, chemistry, etc. changes. And if the water is good enough for fish to thrive then just as dannc pointed out, they should just drain water out of the lake and into man made ponds. That way environment is controlled.

    Dannc is also correct about the reduction of fishpens. They understand this problem but are worried that the farmers won't have an alternative livelihood. This was suppose to be a solution.

  9. #9
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    Please ask BFAR to re-evaluate their partnership. The fact that xxx gave goldfish as seed stock to be tested in Laguna Lake is already outright sx%#&*. How can your project get off the ground if you're starting on the wrong foot? From your first post, it shows that xxx was never really into farming. If he was a hands on farmer even for 1 month, he wouldn't have given goldfish as seed stock.

    Fine, maybe Bio is not too keen on protecting the environment, I can understand that, but then BFAR should have already consulted with DENR about it. Its a waste of time and energy for all parties and eventually, it will just be frustrating to the pilot farmers who tried it out.

    I also agree with what people like gewick30, gantotnio, rocco, and dannc have said.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by uno View Post
    Please ask BFAR to re-evaluate their partnership. The fact that xxx gave goldfish as seed stock to be tested in Laguna Lake is already outright sx%#&*. How can your project get off the ground if you're starting on the wrong foot? From your first post, it shows that xxx was never really into farming. If he was a hands on farmer even for 1 month, he wouldn't have given goldfish as seed stock.

    Fine, maybe Bio is not too keen on protecting the environment, I can understand that, but then BFAR should have already consulted with DENR about it. Its a waste of time and energy for all parties and eventually, it will just be frustrating to the pilot farmers who tried it out.

    I also agree with what people like gewick30, gantotnio, rocco, and dannc have said.
    The scheme of it all is that Bio provides (sells) the breeders or seed stock from where the farmers in the lakes will grow them and sell it back to them. BUT there is NO GUARANTEE that they will buy (quarantine, selection, etc.). So the plan is simply to convince government to use the lakes and have the farmers breed the fishes so that Bio doesn't have to breed it themself. That saves them time and resources. Smart plan ey? DENR is most likely not aware of this project but it won't be long before they find out.

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