LLDA to remove Laguna Bay pens
By Catherine J. Teves
LAGUNA Lake Development Authority will start dismantling next month the 30 fish pens the agency prioritized for removal from dying Laguna de Bay, the Philippines’ largest lake as part of a rehabilitation program, LLDA general manager Jaime Medina said Friday.
“Top priority for dismantling are fish pens each covering an area exceeding one hectare but without LLDA-issued permits,” he told journalists.
He noted such fish pens collectively cover about 1,000 hectares of Laguna de Bay at present.
Citing Philippine Statistics Authority data, Medina said fisheries production in Laguna de Bay reached some 68,600 metric tons last year.
Aquaculture and open fishing accounted for 57,000 metric tons and 11,600 metric tons of such total production, respectively, he noted.
LLDA said fish, mollusks, crustaceans and planktons are among Laguna de Bay’s biological resources.
Siltation and pollution are some of the problems besetting Laguna de Bay, however, jeopardizing this lake’s carrying capacity for aquaculture.
Medina said LLDA was already identifying other aquaculture structures that would comprise succeeding batches for dismantling as well.
Second priority for dismantling are structures each with an area exceeding one hectare and with LLDA permits but violated Laguna de Bay’s zoning and management plan, he said.
Those structures’ operators were delinquent in paying fish cage fees and charges, he continued.
“Our target is to dismantle this year all structures that shouldn’t be in Laguna de Bay,” he said.
He said LLDA set the target as the one-year moratorium on all fish pens and other aquaculture structures in Laguna de Bay is set to end in January 2018.
LLDA Board Resolution 518 series of 2017 set such moratorium and banned new stocking of fingerlings in Laguna de Bay’s existing aquaculture structures.
The resolution further ordered all operators of existing fish pens and fish cages in Laguna de Bay to already harvest their fish stocks and demolish respective structures by Friday (March 31) this year or else “the same shall be done by LLDA.”