BATANGAS CITY — The provincial government here has been urged to reconstitute the Task Force Taal Lake amid research findings by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which declared the endemic “tawilis” fish an endangered species.
Jennilyn S. Aguillera, Batangas public information office chief, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Saturday that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 4-A (Calabarzon) and various Taal Lake stakeholders are currently coordinating with the office of Governor Hermilando Mandanas in recommending the revival of the Task Force Taal Lake to protect and conserve the “tawilis” at the famous lake.
Mandanas, in an earlier interview with PNA, nixed the IUCN report, saying the fish’s lean months are from November to February. It is seasonal and its spawning period usually begins March and April.
“It’s all out in the news that it is an endangered species. But it is not endangered, because it is seasonal. What we are trying to do now is to clean the Pansipit River as a continuing activity. So, this will ensure the flow of clean water,” she said.
The 9-km. Pansipit River crosses the towns of Agoncillo, Lemery, San Nicolas and Taal, where the original “tawilis” species abound and is geographically the only tributary that flows into the Balayan Bay.
He added that the inter-agency collaboration with the national, provincial and local governments, including fisherfolk associations and non-government organizations, have been coordinating to address the issue affecting the “tawilis”, which can only be found at the Taal Lake.
Elmer Bascos, Batangas Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office chief, said their office has been coordinating with the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape even before the IUCN report came out.
Bascos pointed out that PAMB has already passed a resolution declaring a closed season for “tawilis” fishing to be implemented from March to April.
He added that both the DENR and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 4-A have delineated the “tawilis” conservation areas in the fishing grounds of the towns of Cuenca, San Nicolas, and Balete.
They also strongly recommended close monitoring of the “tawilis” population and the level of water quality at the volcanic lake. (PNA)