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Senate Bill to Protect "Sinarapan"

NAGA CITY—The preservation and conservation of the exotic fish “sinarapan,” said to be the world’s smallest commercial fish, will be advanced by a Senate bill that seeks to establish “sinarapan sanctuaries” in Camarines Sur and Albay provinces.

With Senators Francis Escudero, Pia Cayetano and Franklin Drilon as authors, Senate Bill No. 3264, now on second reading in the Senate, seeks to place the sinarapan protected areas under the category of wildlife sanctuary, complete with institutional and enforcement mechanisms.

Lake Manapao

The measure seeks to name four small lakes as the fish’s sanctuaries, with all lands surrounding them falling under the classification of “National Park as provided for in the Philippine Constitution.”

Under the bill, lakes Manapao (2.7 ha), Makuao (1.03 ha) and Katugday (2.43 ha) in Buhi town in Camarines Sur, and Danao (8.3 ha) in Malinao town in Albay will be protected to ensure the conservation of sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonensis), an endemic fish species found in the waters surrounding Mt. Asog in Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

A little more than 2 millimeters in size, sinarapan, a much sought-after delicacy once numerous in Lake Buhi, started disappearing in the 1980s with the advent of motorized commercial fishing.

Acting on the problem of sinarapan depletion in 2006, the municipal government of Buhi banned the capture of the fish in Lake Buhi and established a sanctuary in Lakes Manapao and Katugday, where sinarapan was raised for restocking into Lake Buhi.

With the Senate bill, the local initiative of the municipal government to preserve and conserve sinarapan will become a state policy that will involve national government agencies.


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