The biodiversity of Lake Sebu, one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Cotabato, will be assessed in a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Grants in Aid (GIA) funded project.
The DOST-GIA funded project titled, “Trophic status and aquatic biodiversity assessment for sustainable upland freshwater ecosystems in the municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato” is the first Mindanao State University-General Santos (MSU-GSC) project of the DOST under the administration of President Duterte.
Representatives of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of DOST (DOST-PCAARRD) and DOST visited Lake Sebu in South Cotabato on August 8-10, 2018 alongside the inception meeting for the Lake Sebu Project of the MSU-GSC.
PCAARRD’s delegation included Director Dr. Dalisay DG. Fernandez, Engr. Eduardo V. Manalili and Ms. Anna Mae S. Pastidio of the Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division (IARRD) of PCAARRD.
DOST was represented by its Special Projects Division Chief Ms. Armela K. Razo and staff member, Mr. Dexter LA. Bautista.
South Cotabato in Southern Mindanao is well-known for its Tuna Fish Port Complex in General Santos City and for Lake Sebu, a natural lake in the municipality of Lake Sebu, among other tourist attractions.
The Lake Sebu biodiversity project, which is under the leadership of Dr. James Namocatcat of MSU-GSC, is important in the protection and conservation of the area as a great tourist site.
The project aims to review existing local ordinances, comprehensive land use plans (CLUPs), master plans, etc. as guide in making policy directions, among other notable objectives.
Once completed, the project is expected to provide a biodiversity profile as well as bathymetry and river hydrology of the three upland ecosystems of Lake Sebu municipality, together with other outputs.
The team also visited the General Santos Fish Port Complex in the city. The fish port is a hub of fish catch from Sarangani Bay, Sulu Sea and as far as the Celebes Sea. Most of the catch consists mainly of tuna, roundscad (galunggong), and other pelagic fishes.
A meeting was also held with Dr. Zenaida P. Hajji Raof-Laidan, DOST Region XII Director, at Punta Isla Resort in Lake Sebu. Dr. Raof-Laidan expressed enthusiasm in the Lake Sebu Biodiversity Project and wished that a similar project be implemented in Lake Lanao in the future.
The group then visited the two other lakes; Lake Siluton and Lake Lahit including the Seven Falls. The three lakes are invaluable source of tilapia and other freshwater fish catch for subsistence fishermen.