BFAR RO2 conducts massive elver dispersal to ensure sustainable eel supply
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 2 maintains its strong efforts to ensure that eel population in the wild remain viable through its Stock Enhancement of Elvers Program.
From July 17 to 30, 2019; the bureau released 240,000 pieces of elvers (young eel) in different fish sanctuaries and water bodies along the tributaries of Cagayan River.
According to Aquaculturist II Aeron Mayor, the elvers (Anguillid species) were distributed in Aparri, Gattaran, Baggao, Peñabalanca, Rizal, Piat, and Sto Niño in Cagayan; San Pablo, Tumauini, Aurora, and Jones in Isabela; Bambang, Bagabag, Bayombong, and Diadi in Nueva Vizcaya; and Diffun, Cabarroguis, Aglipay, Maddela and Nagtipunan in Quirino.
Mayor added that the activity primarily aims to increase the capacity of eel population to regenerate and mitigate the possible decline of supply due to overexploitation, high fishing pressure, indiscriminate fishing and difficulty in enforcing regulatory activities on eel species.
Eels are highly valued fishery commodity. Dried eels retails as high as PhP1,000.00/kilo in the local market while live eels are preferred by Chinese and other Asian migrants.
In the previous years, elvers were priced as high as PhP40,000.00/kilo by local consolidators, who transported these to Manila for export. The indiscriminate gathering that ensued prompted the government to issue Fisheries Administrative Order No. 242 banning the export of elvers less than 15 cm. in length.
In effect, the regulation was also enacted to encourage eel grow-out ventures, and thus increase local benefit from the eel value chain.
Aside from stocking, he said, they conducted IEC activities to increase the awareness of the community on the importance of eel resources and the need for its conservation and management.
BFAR RO2’s eel conservation program has been running since 2008. (jdm/mcp)