In response to the problem posed by the knifefish infestation in Laguna Lake, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and several government units in Laguna conducted a food-processing training at the Bantay Lawa Quarters in Barangay San Antonio, Bay, Laguna last June 25, 2013.
Twenty-six participants from Los Banos and Bay learned fish processing with skills training given by resource persons from the BFAR central office.
According to Adelita Moldez, officer-in-charge of the Los Baños Municipal Agriculturist Office (MAO), the training aimed to help wives of fishermen make a livelihood out of knifefish, which fish cage operators and fishermen consider as “pests.” They were taught to turn the fish into sausages and other processed food items.
Knifefish, said to be found only in Laguna Lake, feed on fish grown in cages in the lake. BFAR said that it used to be cultured in controlled spaces but typhoon Ondoy destroyed the nets. Since then, knifefish became a problem.
Last year, almost 2.5 tons of knifefish were taken out of the lake every week.
Francisco Rivera, president of the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC), said that the food-processing project requires that fishermen catch more knifefish from the lake so their wives have raw materials to process.
Meanwhile, Adan Diamante, aquaculturist at BFAR Tanay Rizal, said that through this training, knifefish would be less of a problem to fishermen around Laguna Lake, and help families have an additional source of income.
As of now, products made from knifefish are not yet popular and, therefore, difficult to sell. However, BFAR hopes to increase sales through proper education and promotion in the market. (Vergel Joseph Arcegono)