The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) acquired golden varieties of the bangus, the Philippine national fish, or milkfish in English during the last weeks of June this year.

The first golden bangus was spotted by Rommel Felomino, who rented a fishpond in Barangay Carael to culture non-bangus fishes. It was still still unclear how the rare fish ended up in his pond. Felomino shared that the fish measured around one foot long and weighed 800 grams.

Several days later, another golden bangus was donated to BFAR from a fishpond owner from Barangay Caloocan Sur, Binmaley, Pangasinan. The fish weighed around 750 grams.

A typical bangus can measure about three feet long, but can also reach nearly six feet in length. It mainly lives throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Westley Rosario, BFAR-Dagupan center chief, explained that the color of the golden bangus may be attributed to an abnormality in its pigmentation, which is similar to albinism found in other animals.

BFAR is implementing stricter rules for the golden fish, imposing that visitors are not allowed to view the fish to avoid any stress to the fish, as their first ever golden bangus in 2012 died due to stress.

The two rare fish are currently thriving together in a new reservoir. Rosario said breeding the species hopefully can help scientists and fishermen understand the fish better to know how they can properly raise them.

BFAR encourages others to turn over any golden bangus so they can be properly cared for and multiply in numbers.

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