DOST- S4CP's conservation efforts for PH's most expensive fish leads to income opportunities

The country's most expensive fish, the Lobed River Mullet, locally known as the “ludong", became the center of extensive efforts initiated by the Department of Science and Technology - Science for Change Program (DOST - S4CP) since it was considered at the brink of extinction back in 2010.

(Photo courtesy of DOST)

Ludong, which fetches a price of P4,000.00 to P5,000.00 per kilo, is sought after for its unique taste and aroma by dining establishments.

The DOST-S4CP conducted artificial breeding and culture technologies through the Freshwater Fisheries Center (FFC) for Cagayan Valley in Isabela State University (ISU). The FFC is funded by the Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER), a subprogram of the S4CP. NICER capacitates qualified SUCs, HEIs, and qualified Medical Institutions to engage in research that would grant the area regional development.

The program enjoined their Research and Development (R&D) component to conduct the management of indigenous fisheries resources of the Cagayan Valley Region. The Ludong, is considered a high-valued species alongside freshwater eels. These are the focus of the development of artificial breeding and culture strategies.

The FFC led to the foundation of the Cagayan Valley Aquaculture Producers Cooperative (CVAPCo), which was registered under the Cooperative Development Authority. With the assistance of the CVAPCo, the center was able to enhance the eel industry in the region and advance the conservation of these indigenious freshwater fishes.

The significant progress of the FCC yielded a flourishing industry in the Cagayan Region. In a span of 3 years, its achievements in the field of Science and Technology (S&T) proved to be vital in the socio-economic development of the whole country. According to DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, for the past five years, they have established R&D centers that are relevant to the regional socio-economic development and gives researchers the opportunity to undertake meaningful and impactful research.

“By funding universities in the regions in priority sectors like agricultural and aquatic innovations, we ensure a future with food security and environmental sustainability," she added.

Meanwhile, DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho A. Mabborang stated that S4CP helped refocus the regional offices' precedence to provide higher-level assistance to its 'clients'. It also assisted the regions to engage more in Research and Development, resulting in notable accomplishments in the field.

The intervention of the S4CP has led to major breakthroughs from collaborations with partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Research Development Institutions (RDIs), National, Regional, and Government Institutions. These high-impact programs implemented in the regions through the S4CP contributed greatly to its recent win of the 2022 United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) in the category “Enhancing the effectiveness of public institutions to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” on June 23.

The prestigious award recognizes the effectiveness of the developmental contributions of government institutions in all countries across the world. The DOST-S4CP was chosen from the hundreds of public administration service providers.

The consolidated efforts of the DOST - Regional Offices and the S4CP subcomponents, NICER, Collaborative R&D to Leverage the Economy (CRADLE), Business Innovation through S&T (BIST), and RDLead, corroborate this international recognition from the UN. The program’s sustainability is essential to the engagements with the academe, the private firms, and the industry collaborators who share in this honor of providing high quality public service to Filipinos. Truthfully, Science for Change is Science for the People.