Agriculture - - Kaong - >BY DR. RAFAEL D. GUER­RERO III

Nau­jan Lake was de­clared a na­tional park by Pres­i­den­tial Procla­ma­tion No. 282 in 1956. As such, it is only open to the public for birth watch­ing, ed­u­ca­tional tourism, and sci­en­tific re­search. Aside from the mi­gra­tory birds that over­win­ter in the lake, in­dige­nous and en­demic aquatic species in it such as the mul­let or ba­nak ( Mugil dus­sum­ieri), big­eye trevally or ta­lak­i­tok ( Caranx sex­fas­cia­tus), and the fresh­wa­ter crocodile or buwaya ( Crocody­lus min­doren­sis) are pro­tected and con­served.

A host of in­dige­nous fresh­wa­ter fishes in­clud­ing mud­fish, goby, and milk­fish thrive in Nau­jan Lake. Ex­otic fishes like the three-spot gouramy ( Tri­chogaster pec­toralis), Nile tilapia ( Ore­ochromis niloti­cus), and com­mon carp ( Cypri­nus car­pio) have been in­tro­duced. While com­mer­cial or largescale fish­ing is banned in the lake, mu­nic­i­pal or sub­sis­tence fish­ing with the use of pas­sive gear such as the gill net is al­lowed to pro­vide a source of liveli­hood for the hun­dreds of small fish­ers liv­ing around the lake.

In our re­cent visit to Cala­pan City, the cap­i­tal of Ori­en­tal Min­doro, we were served crispy fried put­ing biya or white goby ( Glos­so­go­b­ius giu­rus) for break­fast at the ho­tel. We were NAU­JAN LAKE is our coun­try’s fifth largest fresh­wa­ter lake, and is lo­cated in Ori­en­tal Min­doro. It has an area of 8,125 hectares and a max­i­mum depth of 45 me­ters. Bounded by four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties (Nau­jan, Vic­to­ria, So­corro, and Pola), the lake only has the Bu­tas River as its out­let to the sea. told that the fish was from Nau­jan Lake and that it is sold in dried form for R550 per kilo in the re­tail mar­ket. There were six pieces of the fish in our PhP 110 break­fast plate, which came with eggs and rice.

Dur­ing our visit to Nau­jan Lake, we in­ter­viewed Toto Ballila, a fisher of Barangay Bayani. He said that about 30% of his daily catch from the lake us­ing gill nets con­sists of the white goby. On a good day, he can catch a kilo of the fish work­ing from dusk to dawn. He splits the fish to re­move its gills and en­trails and then sprin­kles about a fourth of a kilo of salt for ev­ery three ki­los of the fish be­fore dry­ing it un­der the sun for at least four hours.

It takes three ki­los of the fresh fish to pro­duce a kilo of the dried fish. There are about 100 pieces in a kilo of the dried fish. The pro­cessed white goby is sold at whole­sale prices of R400-R500 per kilo.

A view of Nau­jan Lake.

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