Maliputo Fish

According to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Malcolm Sarmiento Jr, the maliputo fish belongs to the Caringidae family, with a scientific name Caranx Ignobilis.

Talakitok a marine water fish breeds and spawn in brackish water, normally found in river mouths and mangroves. When the small talakitok fish, which is normally referred around Lemery and Taal as muslo fish, finds its way to the Pansipit River is normally referred as maliputong labas. Which means that it was caught not inside the lake, but instead captivated at the river.

But the real maliputo, as stated by the old folks of Taal, Lemery and San Nicholas is the one caught inside Taal Lake. Often referred as the maliputong loob. These are the muslo fish that made it all the way inside Taal Lake through Pansipit River.

To tell you frankly, it is quite hard to determine the real maliputo, which is caught inside Taal Lake. But to be sure you should get your fish in San Nicholas, a town right next to the lake. And is usually hard to find one.

Well you might be confused, but as far I'm concerned muslo and talakitok are one of the same fish. Muslo is what the folks of Taal and Lemery use to call the fish once it is found in Pansipit River.

The fish can grow up to 3 kilos in weight. It has a steep and blunt head profile, strong scutes, and silvery to black in color.

Maliputo is a delectable fish with a firm flesh and a very rare delicacy in Batangas. The fish can be served as simple as charcoal broiled with a dash of kalamansi (a small citrus fruit) and bagoong balayan (anchovies). However it is commonly cooked around the province as sinigang (cooked by slow boiling with unripe tamarind and assorted vegetables).

Unfortunately the maliputo fish is in the merge of extinction, with the proliferation of tilapia fish cages along the Pansipit River. The structures of the cages blocked the migration of the fish. And the National Fisheries Biological Center noted an enormous decline of maliputo fish caught inside Taal Lake.

Good thing the local government has ordered a total dismantling of the cages along the river. And reducing the number of fish cages inside the lake, which is also responsible for the fish kill, and resulted into high sulfide levels that bring about a sharp decline in dissolved oxygen supply in the water.

Another event, which can save the maliputo fish from extinction, is the successful spawning of the fish in captivity in Barrio Botong, in Taal town. Ma. Theresa Mutia an aqua culturist was in charge for the accomplishment in breeding the endemic fish. It took the team of Ms. Mutia more than ten years in completing the breeding know how. The means of stimulating normal spawning in the fish is complicated to deal with owing to its delicate characteristics. The absence of scales in the fish makes it very sensitive to hormonal injection. And a short time of removing the fish from the water may cause loss of life.

For the maliputo fish to survive in Taal Lake, the local government of Batangas should implement programs and projects with emphasis on the proper conservation and management of the lake. To save the fish only found in the fresh waters of Batangas.

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