By Estrella Z. Gallardo
The Philippines is home to five of the only 16 eel species in the world, which are Anguilla marmorata (Giant Mottled Eel), Anguilla bicolor pacifica (Indian Short Finned Eel), Anguilla luzonensis (Luzon Mottled Eel), Anguilla celebenensis (Celebes Long Finned Eel), and the Anguilla japonica (Japanese eel).
Eel commands a good export price with huge market potential in the global scene yet freshwater eels are facing threats like overexploitation and associated illegal trade, threats during transitional phases particularly larval transport and glass eel recruitment, and threats of climate change.
The topic discussed by Dr. Plutomeo Nieves, Bicol University-Tabaco Campus Professor during the 2019 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) held on July 19, 2019 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, was sustaining the natural stock of eel resources in the country.
Specifically, Dr. Nieves discussed the current features of freshwater eel resources and their fisheries along rivers and tributaries in Lagonoy Gulf with the hope of managing sustainability of the natural stock as well as improving the livelihood of the people depending on the fishery.
The forum titled “The Eel Fishery in Tributaries along Lagonoy Gulf: Implications to Management and Conservation”, was organized by the Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division (IARRD) in cooperation with the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD) of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
The forum was held to recognize the importance of eel as one of the biological resources and natural treasures that the country have, said Dr. Edwin C. Villar, PCAARRD Acting Deputy Executive Director.
Meanwhile, Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, PCAARRD Acting Executive Director commented that having a biodiversity study on eel will help the country manage the species more efficiently. He said that there are a lot of gaps that need to be addressed by PCAARRD and by other government agencies. It is hoped that different government agencies will converge to address the gaps and formulate a program that will help in the development of the eel industry.
The forum was attended by 111 participants from different state universities and colleges, government agencies, private sector, and PCAARRD officials and staff (PPCI).