Iloilo Beefs Up River Replenishment Program

Eugenie A. Baluran

Iloilo City Government released approximately 2,300 fingerlings of sea bass, popularly known as Bulgan, into the Iloilo River on September 27 with the most recent work done on November 16 with over 1,700 bulgans added.

Headed by the City Agriculturist Office in joint effort with the Iloilo City government, the dispersal of the fingerlings seeks to aid in the replenishment of the Iloilo River to provide a source of livelihood for the citizens.

“Dako gid ang role sang aton nga Iloilo River kay diri nagakuha sang pagkaon ang aton nga mga pumuluyo especially subong nga may Covid-19 pandemic [Iloilo River has a big role since it is here where our locals get their food especially now that we have the COVID-19 pandemic],” shared CAO Head Iñigo Garingalao in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas.

However, fishes are not added into the river at random as Garingalao explains that there are certain aspects that need to be taken into consideration when selecting what species of fish to release.

“We tried different varieties sang mga isda sang una but we were warned nga indi pwede ang mga carnivorous kag gapangaon sang mga kalan-unon sang iban nga isda. What the mayor really wanted is may mga nagakalain-lain man nga isda sa aton Iloilo River para indi lang basta-basta mga simple nga isda [We tried different varieties of fish back then but we were warned that we can’t add carnivorous fish or the types of fish who would eat the food of other fishes. What the mayor really wanted is a variety of fish so it isn’t just simple types of fish,” stated Garingalao.

In line with these ceaseless efforts, Mayor Treñas proudly shares his sentiments in social media about his joy when fisherfolk share pictures of their catch which further supports the progress towards the project’s aim of benefiting the citizens.

“A decade ago up to now, we are dispersing juvenile fishes in the river to provide a livelihood to the citizens of Iloilo City who mostly rely on their daily living by catching fish in the river. Amid this pandemic, I am so happy to see that some of our fellows are able to have some good catch. As we revive the Iloilo River back to life, let us all enjoy the bounty that it can offer,” said Treñas in a social media post.

However, despite the continuous efforts of replenishing the river’s resources, Michael Baquilar, a well-known angler and a part of the fish dispersal efforts, emphasizes that there are rules and etiquettes observed among anglers when it comes to fishing sustainably.

“Ginahambalan ko di mga angler kung ma-kwa niyo gagmay pa, mga age niya 5 months up to 6 months, gamay pa na, teh ginabalik namon kay para ang mga isda gadalagko. Ang mga gapang-net na, nagapang-laya, ginasaway namon kay indi na pwede, illegal ina. Instead nga mag-dagko ang isda, gamay pa, kwaon na na nila. Mayo kung isa lang ka bilog makwa nila, teh damo na. Kis’a may ara na pulo kabilog, may tag-walo, may tag-beinte, kundi dali maubos ang isda diri [I tell the anglers that if you caught small ones, aged 5 months up to 6 months, it’s still small, so we return them so the fish can grow bigger. Those who use nets, we tell them off because that’s not allowed, it’s illegal. Instead of big fish, they’ll catch small ones, too. It’s fine if they catch just one but they catch many. Sometimes they catch ten, some catch eight, some even catch 20, so the fish here are quickly exhausted],” remarked Baquilar on the rules of fishing and the illegal use of nets.

Published: April 25, 2022