Moratorium on fish pen operations declared
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2017 - 11:30pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) has declared a moratorium for one year on fish pen operations in Laguna de Bay.

 In a board resolution approved recently, the LLDA noted that fish pens and other aquaculture structures in the lake had increased, depriving  small fishermen of their source of livelihood.

Environment Secretary Regina Lopez and LLDA general manager Jaime Medina, chairman and vice chairman of the LLDA, respectively, signed the resolution.

“The revised guidelines for the Philippine environmental impact statement system under Presidential Decree 1586 provides that environmental compliance certificates are required for fishery and aquaculture projects using fresh or brackish water above one hectare…No ECC had been issued for existing Laguna de Bay fish pens or fish cages,” the resolution read.

It also cited Executive Order 349 providing for the Laguna de Bay master plan, including a zoning and management plan to regulate aquaculture structures in the lake.

”Even fishery experts agreed that there should be a comprehensive review of existing policies, including technical, socio-economic and environmental considerations and health risks so that aquaculture can still be viable, but proposed a moratorium on the operation of aquaculture activities in Laguna de Bay,“ it said.

 The LLDA said it would ensure sustainable livelihood for affected fisherfolk.

“An action plan to support them will be prepared while the moratorium is in place. This will include activities to re-stock the lake with commercially viable non-invasive fish species,” Medina said.

The LLDA earlier gave fish pen operators until March 31 to harvest their stocks and demolish their structures.

No fish pen permit would be issued or renewed after Dec. 31 and no new fingerlings dispersed on existing structures, it added.

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