P5-M R&D to curb ‘invasive fish’ in Laguna lake
Rudy Fernandez (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2018 - 12:00am

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines — A government research and development council here has earmarked P4.89 million for the implementation of a research and development project to curb the population of a predatory fish species in Laguna de Bay.

Scientifically named Chitala ornata, it is regarded as “invasive” because it attacks important fish species, particularly tilapia, in the 90,000-hectare freshwater take.

This drew the concern of the Los Baños-based Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), which allocated P4.89 million for the implementation of the R&D project titled “Assessment and implementation of catch and management strategies for the invasive knifefish in Laguna Bay.”

The scientific program is being implemented by the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Limnological Research Station (UPLB-LRS).

PCAARRD, headed by acting executive director Reynaldo Ebora, said the research initiative aims “to provide analytical tools and data to improve the effectiveness of current continuing initiative to suppress the population of knifefish.”

The fish has been named as such because of its ability to prey on native and economically important fish species leading to the reduction of fish catch, primarily tilapia, in open waters and aquaculture cages.

Project leader Vivian Camacho of the UPLB-LRS said the movement pattern of the invasive fish will be traced through the release of tagged fish in open waters to locate knifefish population.

“The program will look at the migration and aggregation pattern of adult and juvenile knifefish to confirm site fidelity or the tendency of the fish to stay close to its ‘home range,’” Camacho said.

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