THE waters of the Cagayan de Oro River, long depleted of fish stocks due to overfishing and adverse environmental changes, may once again teem with fresh water fish.

As part of the city’s Independence Day celebrations Friday, some 120,000 Tilapia fingerlings were released in different parts of the Cagayan de Oro River commencing with a brief 9 a.m. at Duaw Park just below the Governor Ysalina Bridge.

The City Agriculture Office (CAO), together with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Northern Mindanao (BFAR) Northern Mindanao, dispersed the tilapia fingerlings as part of the city’s rehabilitation program of the river.

City agriculturist Hector San Juan hopes with the dispersal of the fingerlings, the river will once again become a food source for many residents just as it had once been before pressures from an increasing population depleted the river’s fish stocks.

Personnel from the CDRRMC, BFAR Northern Mindanao and CAO manned two lifeboats to spread the dispersal of the fingerlings to the different spots of the river. The fingerlings were from the tilapia hatchery of BFAR Northern Mindanao.

San Juan said they chose tilapia because the specie is known to be adaptable and because tilapia fingerlings were plentiful at BFAR 10.

San Juan said the fish will mature from six months to one year. He explained that the fingerlings take longer to mature in the wild as opposed to fishponds where they are fed regularly.

San Juan said the fingerlings released into the river will likely consume plankton and mosses but said he sees no reason why these will not be fit for consumption when they mature.