| Search | Sunday 20 September 2020
Home LPM 2011 Features Kalikasan - Nature Philippines' "President's Fish" Faces Extinction

Philippines' "President's Fish" Faces Extinction

E-mail Print PDF
Article Index
Philippines' "President's Fish" Faces Extinction
Notes & Sources
All Pages


Philippines' "President's Fish" Faces Extinction

September 29, 2010, 2:12pm

MANILA, Philippines – The lobed river mullet, Cestraeus plicatilis, is seriously diminishing in number due to overfishing and is facing extinction, according to the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

[Click the image above for larger photo, and related photos of  lobed river mullet, Cestraeus plicatilis from New Caledonia. See Notes in next oage.]

The species is very valuable in the Philippines – and demand for it is high – because of its ‘unique aroma’ and ‘special taste’.

It is even reputed to be one of former President Ferdinand Marcos’ favorite dishes thus being popularly called the ‘president’s fish’.

Locally known as ‘ludong’ or ‘banak’, it sells for 5,000 pesos (114 dollars) per kilogram, which only the wealthiest can afford, making it the most expensive fish in the Philippines, said BFAR official Jovita Ayson.

Because of the species’ high value, fishermen catch them even during its spawning season, not leaving enough mature fish to breed.

"You cannot stop fishermen from catching it. It is too valuable. People even pay the fishermen in advance for their catch," she said.

However, the current number of the species is alarming which leads the fisheries bureau to impose a five-year ban on catching it.

"It is a threatened species and we have to do something about it before it goes extinct. If we don't stop the indiscriminate catching, in a short while, it could vanish," Ayson told AFP.

The mullet is found in only a few countries, and in the Philippines its habitat is limited to a few rivers in the north. It grows to 32.5 centimetres (12.8 inches), but those being caught are now much smaller, weighing only 250 grams (8.9 ounces) from as much as 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) a few years back, a sign fewer are reaching maturity.

The fisheries bureau is experimenting on breeding the fish in captivity and educating the local populace on the need to keep it from dying out, Ayson added. (With a report from AFP)


Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 September 2010 23:00 )