The Smallest Commercial Fish On Earth

It's the smallest commercial fish on earth, yet the sinarapan in the Philippines is caught by the tens of thousands.

You'll need a magnifying glass to catch this one because it is the smallest commercial fish on earth. The sinarapan in the Philippines never gets any larger than 1/3 of an inch. Amazingly, these transparent goby with large, black eyes are caught commercially in Lake Buhi by the tens of thousands and are considered an important and delicious food source.

Catching the sinarapan is an art. Anglers first cut and trim a bamboo stalk. A palm leaf is wrapped around the top. The stalk is then anchored to the bottom of the lake with the leaf serving as both a beacon and trap.

During the day the sinarapan rest upon the leaf. The leaf is then dumped into a large basket. When the water drains, all that is left is a strange, wriggling, jumping mass that is transparent except for large and spooky black eyes.



Anglers bid on the right to catch the sinarapan. The local government awards the highest bidders exclusive privileges along select sections of the lake. At the end of the day, the celebration begins.

Locals fry the sinarapan in oil, or boil them with vegetables. When more are caught than the local market demands, the surplus is salted or dried in cakes and exported to neighboring towns in Camarines Sur and Albay Provinces.

Lake Buhi is a picturesque body of water. It is surrounded by a range of rugged mountains. The entire exotic region has been protected for well over four hundred years and is considered one of the most beautiful rain forests on earth.

It is certainly the home of some of the most unusual fish in the world, including the pandaka pygmaea, another goby that may be even smaller than the sinarapan and likely endangered.

For more information about the sinarapan and Lake Buhi, talk to your travel agent about Bicol Region Tourist Destinations.

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