Fisherfolk groups who recently attended the Science and Policy Forum for Sustainable Laguna lake Management in Tagaytay City say “No to Laguna de Bay Fish Cages” believing that the fish pens hinder the productivity of municipal fishers whose livelihood depends on the lake a great deal.

A study conducted by Carmelita M. Rebancos titled “Perception and Scenarios Building for South Bay Communities of Laguna de Bay, Laguna, Philippines participated in by some fisherfolk groups in the Municipalities of Calamba, Los Baños, and Bay, all in Laguna were asked of possible scenarios based on past and present condition of the lake.

Four scenarios were presented, whenever the lake is restored, the water is clear, deep and teeming with native fish one where open fishing would mean access to greater areas of the lake.

In the lasts forty to fifty years, several studies have shown that the water quality of Laguna de Bay has been deteriorating, and so with the fishes, unlike in the 1960s, when there were less fish cages, abundant catch, and clear water were observed, fisherfolks recall.

The last scenario is ecotourism where the lake would be developed as a tourist destination. The researchers, taking the fisherfolks’ views and experiences into account, “conceptualized optimal lake use which balances fisheries ecotourism, water resources, power generation, and lake rehabilitation”.

However, Nareus Acosta, general manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), said that while he understands the fisherfolks, eradicating fish pens is not going to be as easy as it seems to be, but he is willing to sit down with the various sectors concerned such as the fisherfolks, the policy makers, the academicians and other environment experts to determine possible solutions to the problems of Laguna de Bay.

The forum was a collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology, National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) and School of Environmental Science and Management – University of the Philippines, Los Baños.(PSciJourn MegaManila).