BFAR starts mission to capture, breed “pigek”

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) office in Dagupan City has started its mission to capture and propagate “pigek” or “bulidao”, an endangered and indigenous fish specie that promises a fortune if properly conserved and bred.

Dr. Westly Rosario, center chief of BFAR, said his staff were able to capture five live pieces of the fish in Abra River where they are found when they joined fishermen fishing in the area.

The fish were about half a kilogram each.

“It’s very few. The chance to have a catch is this August,” he said.

He said they need to get a male and a female for captivity similar to what they did in propagating “ludong”, another endangered and expensive fish specie endemic in the Philippines.

A kilo of “pigek” costs about P700-800 each.

Rosario said “ludong” or “banak” and other indigenous fish species that are given proper attention are already being produced in commercial volume in other countries.

“But this one, it’s (effort) already on our own,” Rosario said.

He added, “we have to get more of this fish this August, before the month ends.”

Based on species and endemicity status of the therapontid “Pigek”, Mesopristes cancellatus in the Philippines published in February 2012, it said that aside from “Ludong” or President’s fish (probably Cestraeus plicatilis), “Pigek” is also known in the Philippines as a delectable, highly priced and rare freshwater fish.

Early reports indicate that “Pigek” is of the species Mesopristes cancellatus and can be found also in Rio Grande de Mindanao, Tamontaka River, and Pulangi River in Cotabato.

However, there have also been reports that “Bulidao“, a fish caught in Abra River, is of the same species as “Pigek” because of their resemblance. (Eva Visperas)

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