Tawilis is now listed as endangered species

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said Tawilis may face total extinction.

Tawilis, the freshwater sardines which can only be found in be found in Philippines' Taal Lake, is now an endangered species, research by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has concluded.

The Switzerland-based IUCN said there is an ongoing threat to Tawilis, or "sardinella tawilis" due to overexploitation, pollution, habitat degradation, and competition from species introduced for aquaculture. It also noted that fishing effort using illegal gears which target Tawilis in the lake is increasing.

Tawilis, now on the list of endangered species

"With an increase in effort, it is likely that the population is declining faster than the catch, and we, therefore, infer that the population has declined by at least 50 percent over the past 10 years, which qualifies it for Endangered under criterion."

The IUCN urged local government agencies and the management of the area to "be more active in the implementation of various laws on lake management and conservation."

Tawilis, a small fish typically just about 15cm in length and about 30 grams in weight,  is popularly served in restaurants in Tagaytay City and sold in wet markets in nearby cities within the Southern Tagalog region. Apart from being overfished, the said species is also facing predation with introduced fishes such as Tilapia resulting in a declined number of mature Tawilis.

 

Lead image: @fluffyanika123 | Instagram

Written by

Nikki De Guzman