The online news portal of TV5
STA CRUZ, Laguna -- In a bid to prevent possible massive spread of "knife fish" in the over 90,000-hectare Laguna Lake, science experts of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are eyeing growing soft-shelled turtles in the lake and other lakes in Calabarzon as a solution against the spread of the fish specie.
DENR-Laguna provincial officer Isidro Mercado said he personally revealed the plan after learning that the soft-shelled turtles, known scientifically as Pelodiscus sinensis feed on the eggs of the knife fish.
Mercado said the turtles, which are known “predators,” do not pose harm to marine species growing in the lake because they do not eat fish.
He said these soft-shelled turtles could be a possible solution, although DENR scientists are still conducting further studies to determine their characteristics.
Earlier, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) raised concerns over the presence of knife fish suspected of having caused the declining catch of tilapia and milkfish in the lake.
LLDA and BFAR officials said the knife fish, an ornamental but carnivorous species, feeds on native fish in the lake, leading to a decline in the catch of tilapia and bangus or milkfish.
The LLDA and BFAR have advised fishermen to collect and destroy the eggs of knife-fish which cling to the bamboo posts of fish pens to ensure stopping them from spreading in more areas of the lake.
The BFAR, however, said DENR’s plan to grow the soft-shelled turtles in Laguna Lake has to be backed by research results before any foreign species is introduced to the lake’s ecosystem.
BFAR-Calabarzon chief of the Inland Fisheries Research Station Leah Villanueva cited complaints by fisherfolk in Taal Lake that soft-shelled turtles that abound in Taal bite off and destroy fish nets, resulting in big losses in their endeavors.
Meanwhile, LLDA general manager Neric Acosta said the fish kill in the Laguna Lake that started in the second week of May led to losses of more than 10,000 kilograms of fish, mostly tilapia, resulting in financial losses to fishermen estimated to be between P2 million to P3 million.
BFAR and LLDA were still closely monitoring the Laguna Lake and awaiting results of new water tests conducted in the lake to determine the cause of fish kill.