A stagnant and heavily polluted water reservoir that was not fit for growing fish has been rehabilitated and can now be used for growing freshwater fish and other purposes.
This is the one-hectare reservoir at the Quirino State University (QSU) compound in Diffun, Quirino province which has been so heavily polluted that people would not like to eat the fish that might have survived there. The canal that feeds the reservoir passes through heavily populated villages, that’s why.
Today, the canal that feeds the reservoir still passes through the same villages but appropriate filtration systems have been installed, thanks to the collaborative efforts of QSU and the National Inland Fisheries Enhancement Program (INFEP) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources headed by Director Asis Perez.
To rehabilitate the polluted reservoir, a team headed by Dr. Adelaida Palma of NIFEP evaluated the site and did water analysis. This was followed by capacity building efforts for the beneficiaries, followed by clearing and civil works to include rip-rap and construction of culvert connecting the canal to the reservoir.
TRIPLE FILTRATION – A triple filtration system was installed consisting of two mechanical filters and an Aquatic Macrophyte Biofiltration System (AMBS). First line of filter is made of gravel screen followed by the AMBS. The latter is simply a thick growth of water hyacinth (water lily to most people) which has been found by research to be effective in absorbing toxic substances. The last line, located within the culvert mouth consists of pebbles and charcoal.
The project also entailed the planting of fresh water mangroves locally known as “putat” (Baringtonia asiatica) within the banks of the canal. The one-hectare reservoir was seeded with 5,000 fingerlings consisting of different carp species and tilapia during the project launching on February 7, 2016.
Aside from fish production, the reservoir is also used to irrigate rice fields nearby. QSU president Samuel Benigno added that the school constructed cottages at the banks of the reservoir for recreational activities.
PROTEIN SOURCE – BFAR Director Asis G. Perez revealed that NIFEP aims to revive inland bodies of water such as lakes and small farm reservoirs as these resources offer potential for fish production and socio-economic advancement. Currently, these bodies of water have a very minimal average production of 50 kilos per hectare per year.
“If revived and stocked properly, we can increase the production to 200 kilos per hectare per year which can augment the protein requirements, especially in landlocked and upland areas,” Perez said.
Dr. Adelaida Palma, on the other hand, explained that stocking entails proper matching of the natural foods present in the water body to the type of fingerlings to be dispersed. That way, we can maximize the utilization of natural foods present in the different water columns.
The NIFEP aims to revive 36 lakes and 320 reservoirs in the entire country, including Bangalao Lake in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan. Also included under the program is the establishment of a gene bank and breeding of commercially important indigenous fish species.
Quirino Gov. Junie Cua who was present at the launching said that the project can be an answer to El Niño as well as address other concerns of the provincial government such as livelihood generation, food production and environmental protection and conservation.
On her part, BFAR-02 Regional Director Milagros Morales said that she appreciated the support and assistance from the QSU administration as well as the provincial government. She vowed that BFAR will continue to collaborate with the local authorities in the implementation of fishery projects. (Excerpted from Max Prudencio’s report)