The efforts to restore two lakes in the province of Bohol have provided job opportunities for fisherfolk in two municipalities.
Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas on Monday said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-7) implemented the restoration of Ewon Lake in Barangay Ewon, Sevilla town and Canta-ub Lake in Barangay Canta-ub, Sierra Bullones town.
“The lake restoration project is under the Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) program. The project aims to preserve the ecosystems and species biodiversity to increase fish population and benefit the community,” Gonzales said during the Laging Handa Network Briefing.
The project will also open job opportunities for the nearby fishing communities that rely on these inland waters for daily sustenance and livelihood.
Gonzales reported that BFAR-7 initiated cash for work program for the townsfolk that were tapped to catch invasive fishes, particularly the janitor fish, in these lakes.
Members of fisherfolk associations are currently managing the lakes — the Kapunungan sa mga Mag-uuma ug Mangingisda sa Ewon for Ewon Lake and the Canta-ub Visayan Eskaya Farmers Association for Canta-ub Lake.
Gonzales explained that part of the BASIL program is to retrieve all invasive species sighted in the identified freshwater areas since these are considered pests.
To note, invasive alien species are organisms that are either accidentally or intentionally introduced in areas outside of their natural habitat that may be a threat to the native ecosystem and biodiversity, causing an adverse impact to people’s health, economy, and culture.
“Prior to the retrieval of invasive fishes, BFAR-7 facilitated a capacity building training for the members of the fisherfolk associations to guide them on how they could fully maximize the resources of the lakes and how they could help conserve their natural bounty,” Gonzales said.
BFAR-7’s Clarin Freshwater Fish Farm in Clarin, Bohol provided for the stocking of several common carp fingerlings for the lake. (PNA)