‘Ipon’ fishing and sale ban lifted

>> Friday, February 19, 2016

By Erwin Beleo

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — Fries of the tiny goby fish or silver fish, locally known as “Ipon,” are back in the market.
Ipon, an exotic Ilocano delicacy which is usually eaten raw with drops of limejuice or vinegar, had been missed the past couple of months as the City Agriculture Office (CAO) banned the catching of goby fish from last December until the end of January.
Dolores Gurtiza, former city fishery coordinator, said the ban was imposed pursuant to a provincial fishery ordinance. Violators of the ordinance could have faced a P5,000-fine or imprisonment. “It (the ban) is also one way to preserve and conserve its species,” Gurtiza said.
Even when the catching season is on, they are not so easy to come by. Tubs or baskets of the “ipon” are sold occasionally when they swarm the rivers mostly in the towns of Bangar and Bacnotan, La Union, giving countryside catchers a rare and bountiful income as it fetches from a minimum of P200 up per kilo.
Street vendors sell them house-to-house on foot and are pegged even more expensive at a minimum of P220 and up a kilo. They carry them in “tiklis” or bamboo-woven baskets with a bamboo pole, the reason why vendors said, they jack up the price.
Gurtiza also said that the “ipon” badly needed the two-month moratorium for its reproduction period.
“Ipon” is caught by fine-mesh nets from the fresh running waters in La Union at the San Gabriel-San Juan area, Baroro Bridge in Bacnotan or in the Ambuklao in Bangar and Sudipen. It is also sometimes sold by the “ganta” (about 1.5 kilos) or “chupa” (less than half a kilo), using an empty milk or juice can.
Cooked into “sinigang” or “paksiw” or simply wrapped with banana leaf and boiled into an omelet is divine. For others, especially when the catch is abundant, locals make ipon into a really “bagoong (fish sauce).”


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