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Nation

Laguna de Bay fish pens to be dismantled

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Fish pens in Laguna de Bay will be dismantled starting next month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has announced.

“We will clean Laguna Lake by destroying fish pens, but we will pay attention to the poor fishermen so they can continue to earn money,” Environment Secretary Gina Lopez told a news conference on Thursday.

“We are not renewing fish permits that will expire this December,” Lopez said.

She bared plans to implement programs to provide income for the affected fisherfolk, including the conversion of the lake into an eco-tourism zone.

DENR Undersecretary Art Valdez, who heads the National Anti-Environmental Crime Task Force, said they would encourage the fishermen to dismantle their fish pens after harvesting their produce.

The dismantling of fish pens will allow small-scale fishermen to gain access to traditional fishing grounds, the DENR said.

The lake allows up to only 9,000 hectares for aquaculture, but fish pens and cages are occupying 12,375.18 hectares.

Data from the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) show that there are 1,018 legitimate fish pen operators in Laguna de Bay and 2,261 illegal operators.

To maintain open fishing grounds, the LLDA designated fish sanctuaries covering around 30,000 hectares in Muntinlupa City, 5,000 in Jala-Jala and Talim Island in Rizal and Laguna Bay and 127 in Barangay Tabon in Binangonan, Rizal.

            

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