The DA-Fisheries Research and Development Center (NFRDI), through the Freshwater Fisheries Research and Development Division (FFRDC), conducted a three-day training on inland fisheries stock assessment to its enumerators on March 21-23, 2023 in Iriga City, Camarines Sur. 

The training is part of a six-year research project on “Stock Assessment of Major Lakes and Rivers” that aims to orient and capacitate enumerators on the methodologies of inland fisheries assessment who will later be assigned in Lakes Buhi and Bato.

During the first day, enumerators were oriented on the project overview and presented with detailed methodologies including catch and effort survey, fish identification, and reproductive biology. 

Actual field surveys at different fish landing centers of Lakes Buhi and Bato were conducted during the last two days of training. Enumerators underwent actual hands-on training on catch and effort surveys facilitated by NFRDI project staff. A market survey was also conducted to determine fish and other aquatic resources sold in the market. They were also trained in proper fish identification and reproductive biology analysis of species including ayungin, tilapia, dalag, among others.

The six-year NFRDI project aims to expand the National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) to inland bodies of water, which will first be implemented in Lakes Buhi and Bato. These lakes are known as the habitat of the “sinarapan” – the world’s smallest commercially harvested fish in the world. It has been declared as part of the Buhi Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS), a protected area managed by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). 

In a special meeting with the BWS-PAMB on March 23, 2023, the NFRDI project leader, Myleen Magistrado presented and discussed the project. The meeting was composed of barangay captains from various coastal barangays of Buhi, Camarines Sur and Polangui, Albay. The PAMB members approved and gave clearance to the project. They also acknowledged the need for research and pledged their full support to the implementation of the project.

The project is being implemented in close collaboration with the local government unit (LGU) of Buhi (Camarines Sur) especially its Lake Development Office; LGU Bato (Camarines Sur); Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource (BFAR) region 5, and DENR-Protected Area Management Office (PAMO). ### (Lou Merilles)