TILAPIA FINGERLINGS. Some 35 local fish growers in Hermosa town, Bataan province receive 100,000 tilapia fingerlings from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in this undated photo. This is under the bureau's input assistance program that would help boost the fishers' livelihood. (Photo courtesy of BFAR Region 3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Luzon (BFAR-3) has distributed some 100,000 tilapia fingerlings to fish growers in Hermosa, Bataan over the weekend.

BFAR Regional Director Wilfredo Cruz said on Monday that some 35 local fish growers benefited from the bureau’s input assistance program that could help boost their livelihood.

Cruz said the provision of fingerlings aims to increase fishpond productivity and boost fish sufficiency in the province.

"Ang hakbang na ito ay naglalayong mapabuti ang produksyon ng mga benepisyaryo at mapalago ang kani-kanilang mga kabuhayan (This move aims to improve production of the beneficiaries as well as their livelihood," he said in an interview.

Apart from the distribution, BFAR released more than 30,000 indigenous fish species into the Pampanga River in San Simon town over the weekend.

The move is part of the bureau's Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) program.

Cruz said the indigenous fish species include "ayungin" (silver perch), "martiniko" (climbing perch), common carp and "ulang" (giant fresh water shrimp) that were sourced from the National Inland Fisheries Technology Center of BFAR in Tanay town, Rizal province.

"Those fish species were dispersed to repopulate the river and increase its productivity," Cruz said.

He noted that overfishing and the use of illegal and destructive fishing methods have virtually decimated the indigenous fish species in major lakes and rivers.

"This move will help strengthen the local indigenous fish population. The project will also involve the communities surrounding the river and make them aware of the importance of sustainable and environment-friendly fishing practices,” Cruz added. (PNA)