Laguna’s seven lakes ‘most threatened’ in 2014
February 3, 2014 (updated)
The Seven lakes of San Pablo in Laguna have been identified as the “most threatened lakes” in the world for 2014 due to intensive fish farming and pollutin, according to the international group Global Nature Fund (GNF).
The seven lakes, specifically Lake Sampaloc, suffer from rampant cage fishing despite a moratorium to preserve their condition, the GNF said in its report released on Sunday, February 2.
GNF said the lakes, which include Lake Bunot, Lake Mojicap (Mohicap), Lake Pandin, Lake Palakpakin, Lake Yambo and Lake Kalibato, were used for recreational activities by the local people but deteriorated over time due to neglect.
The Germany-based organization noted that the lakes’ area are half covered by illegal structures and fish cages which started to be built along the lakeshore in the 1990s.
“The lake is extremely threatened by human influences such as the proliferation of floating fish cages and pollution from illegal lake dwellers occupying the shorelines,” the report said.
It noted that the number of fish cages in the whole area is increasing due to the failure of concerned agencies to implement the moratorium that limits the allowable surface area for fish cages to 10 percent.
Meanwhile, a separate series of study conducted by the Laguna Lake Development Authority showed that most of the lakes are in “critical state in terms of water quality” since 2005. A study done from 1996 to 2005 showed that the water quality in lakes Mohicap, Calibato and Palakpakin are all in critical condition, with Bunot as the one in “most critical state.”
The agency noted that “the degrading water quality of the lake may be attributed to the discharge of domestic wastes from the surrounding community and to the inappropriate feeding practices in the aqua structures. It also said the levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand, ammonia and phosphate are on an uptrend which signifies the worsening organic pollution in the lake.
GNF, along with non government organization the Friends of the Seven Lakes Foundation (FSLF), seeks for the preservation and protection of the lakes which provide fish trade and even tourism income for Laguna.
Bobby M. Azores, FSLF chairman, in a statement posted at GNF website, said Lake Sampaloc and the other six crater lakes must be cleared of all human activities.
“Through the years, we have had very small successes in this regard. We have lobbied and worked with the government agency in-charge to fix our problems. We have been unable to get the government to approve the aquaculture zoning map that would move and reorganize the fish cages to their designated aquaculture zone,” he said.
Azores also lamented the non-committal attitude of the local populace in protecting the seven lakes.
The GNF released the annual report in commemoration of the World Wetlands Day to advance its calls in preservation of lakes worldwide.