BFAR-NIFTDC, zoological society differ on mosquito fish use

THE University of the Philippines Zoological Society called out the he Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (BFAR-NIFTDC) for distributing mosquito fishes (gambusia affinis), in suspected breeding areas of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

In its Facebook post on August 24, the organization asked BFAR-NIFTDC’ to stop distributing the mosquito fish as a deterrent to dengue, because it said it can cause damage to the ecosystem it being an invasive alien specie not native to a specific location.

The group maintained that the introduction of invasive alien species disturbs the current ecological performance of the affected environment and could pose adverse effects to the current aquatic ecosystems of the country if further implemented on a national scale”, the Facebook post said.

Other groups, Isdang Tabang: The Philippine Freshwater Fish Taxonomic Initiative, and AGHAM Diliman, shared the same objection to the project.

Dr. Westly Rosario, BFAR-NIFTDC Chief, refuted the claim in an interview Thursday morning.

He said the use of mosquito fish was already started in 2015 in Bonuan Gueset’s stagnant waters, that resulted in a significant drop on dengue cases.

He added the program to use mosquito fish was carefully studied for a long period and distributed the fish only in stagnant waters that had no traces of water fauna.

Rosario also denied the mosquito fish as being ‘invasive’, saying that they even serve as prey to larger fish such as mud fish, and many more. Rosario assured that release has been administered in a controlled condition, in confined places.

Kung invasive, edi sana siya yung naghahari-harian ngayon. Pero hindi. Pakawalan mo man yan sa dagat o sa ilog mamamatay yan, kasi sa ilog, may water lilies, o kung hindi, kakainin yan ng mga mas malalaking isda”, Rosario said.

Rosario added that before giving out mosquito fish, proper directions are given to recipients.

He said he welcomes constructive criticisms meant to help the situation “Ayaw ko pa na pagdating ng araw, singilin ako, sabihin na wala akong ginawa”, said Rosario. (Ahikam Pasion)

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