VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur – The provincial government of Ilocos Sur is closely monitoring the observance of the closed fishing season of Ludong fish along Abra River and other freshwater tributaries in the province starting on Thursday.

Ilocos Sur Provincial Fishery Regulatory Officer Benny Saraos said that they are strictly monitoring the implementation of close fishing season in the province as a mode of their commitment to preserve the endangered Ludong fish or the so-called “President’s Fish.”

On Thursday, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) had issued an advisory on the start of the closed fishing season for the lobed river mullet, better known as the Ludong.

Pursuant to Bureau Administrative Circular (BAC) No. 247 s. 2013, the closed season prohibits any person, association, or corporation to catch Ludong for the entire month of October until November 15.

Known under its scientific name: Cestraeus plicatilis, the Ludong is a rare and highly sought after fish, indigenous to the Cagayan River and the Abra River system in Northern Luzon.

“With the annual implementation of the closed season, we reaffirm our commitment to protect this rare and valuable fish and to help in replenishing its numbers, thus preserving the beauty and bounty of our rivers for future generations to enjoy,” DA-BFAR national director Eduardo B. Gongona said.

Gongona said the DA-BFAR works closely with fisherfolk, local government units and other government agencies in implementing all conservation-related measures to save Ludong.

BFAR Region II is also implementing the OPLAN Sagip Ludong Project (OSLP): Save our Endangered Philippine Ludong.

This project, done in collaboration with BFAR Regions I and CAR, Isabela State University, Zoological Society of London, and concerned provincial and municipal local government units (LGUs), aims to provide information to be used to analyze demographic parameters in order to gain a better understanding of the status of Ludong as a species.

The OSLP also includes the construction of the Ludong breeding facility, which will be used to address the declining population of Ludong in the wild.