LLDA to issue new fish pen permits

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Another initiative of former environment secretary Gina Lopez is being overturned.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) will issue new permits to fish pen operators in Laguna de Bay in January.

Small fishermen will be allowed to operate in 60 percent of the area to be allotted for aquaculture while corporations will get the remaining 40 percent, Jaime Medina, LLDA general manager, said yesterday.

“We also have to consider that over the years...open sea fishing is declining while production of aquaculture resources is on an upward trend. The issue of having zero fishpen in the lake is not possible since food production is involved here,” said Medina.

He said the removal of fish pens might also result in higher prices, noting that at least 50 percent of Metro Manila’s fish supply comes from Laguna de Bay.

A team of technical experts said the LLDA should allow fish pens in only 9,200 hectares of the lake.

Fish pens occupy 14,000 hectares before the LLDA declared a one-year moratorium on the issuance of new permits and started demolishing illegal fish pens on Jan. 26. Many of the fish pens are owned or controlled by politicians.

“So far, we were successful in deducting 1,963 hectares,” Medina said.

He said they expect to clear another 2,837 hectares by December.

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