'President's fish' facing extinction in Philippines

Sep 25, 2010
This photo, released by the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resoruces (BFAR), shows a lobed river mullet, Cestraeus plicatilis, locally known as "ludong" or "banak." The species, reputed to be one of the favourite dishes of former president Ferdinand Marcos, is facing extinction in the Philippines because it is so valuable, a fisheries official said Saturday.

A species of mullet reputed to be one of the favourite dishes of former president Ferdinand Marcos is facing extinction in the Philippines because it is so valuable, a fisheries official said Saturday.

The high value of the lobed river mullet, popularly known as "president's fish" has resulted in overfishing, seriously diminishing their numbers, said Jovita Ayson, a regional director of the fisheries bureau.

"It is a threatened species and we have to do something about it before it goes extinct. If we don't stop the indiscriminate catching, in a short while, it could vanish," she told AFP.

The fisheries bureau is calling for a five-year ban on the catching of Cestraeus plicatilis, locally known as "ludong" or "banak".

It is found in only a few countries, and in the Philippines its habitat is limited to a few rivers in the north.

It sells for 5,000 pesos (114 dollars) a kilogram, which only the wealthiest can afford, making it the most expensive fish in the Philippines, Ayson said.

But this also leads fishermen to catch it even during its spawning season, not leaving enough mature fish to breed, she said.

"You cannot stop fishermen from catching it. It is too valuable. People even pay the fishermen in advance for their catch," she said.

The mullet grows to 32.5 centimetres (12.8 inches), but those being caught are now much smaller, weighing only 250 grams (8.9 ounces) from as much as 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) a few years back, a sign fewer are reaching maturity.

Marcos, a native of the northern Philippines who ruled the country from 1965 to 1986 -- much of it under martial rule -- reputedly always had a year-long supply of the fish stocked away, Ayson said.

"A lot of people like the smell. It has a unique aroma and a special taste," she said, explaining the demand.

The fisheries bureau is experimenting on breeding the in captivity and educating the local populace on the need to keep it from dying out, Ayson said.

Explore further: California's sea otter numbers holding steady

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recuperated rare fish released in China

Jun 18, 2007

Wildlife officials in China released a rare paddlefish into Yangtze River Sunday after nursing it back to health from injuries inflicted by fishermen.

West Coast fishermen embark on new wave of fishing

Sep 06, 2009

(AP) -- The West Coast groundfish fleet has struggled to stay afloat during major cutbacks to reverse long-standing problems with overfishing and to protect the seafloor from damage caused by bottom trawling ...

Global fisheries research finds promise and peril

Sep 14, 2010

Global fisheries, a vital source of food and revenue throughout the world, contribute between US$225-$240 billion per year to the worldwide economy, according to four new studies released today. Researchers also concluded ...

Recommended for you

Preserving crucial tern habitat in Long Island Sound

1 hour ago

Great Gull Island is home to one of the most important nesting habitats for Roseate and Common terns in the world. The estimated 1,300 pairs of Roseate terns that summer on the 17-acre island at the eastern ...

California's sea otter numbers holding steady

2 hours ago

When a sea otter wants to rest, it wraps a piece of kelp around its body to hold itself steady among the rolling waves. Likewise, California's sea otter numbers are holding steady despite many forces pushing ...

22 elephants poached in Mozambique in two weeks

16 hours ago

Poachers slaughtered 22 elephants in Mozambique in the first two weeks of September, environmentalists said Monday, warning that killing for ivory by organised syndicates was being carried out on an "industrialised" ...

Pakistan releases smuggled turtles into the wild

21 hours ago

Pakistani officials and environmentalists on Monday released some 200 rare turtles into the River Indus after the reptiles were retrieved from a southwestern Chinese town where they were seized by customs ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

J23
not rated yet Sep 25, 2010
Hah, the Filipinos will probably catch even more of this fish since they probably Marcos so much :P