Goby is a very familar fish in Northwestern Luzon, especially in Ilocos Norte, Uocos Sur, and Abra. The fish is abundant in running waters and lakes of the Ilocos region. However, mature gobies seem to disappear from the rivers and lakes when “ipon” or goby fry starts to appear.
“Ipon” or goby fry appear nine days after the full moon during the months of September, October, November, December, January and February. They are captured by the millions from the mouth of the river by fish traps or fish pots called “bubo” in the dialect. They go upstream and migrate to bodies of freshwater where they stay until they are sexually mature.
Republic Act No. 6145 passed on November 9, 1970, prohibits the catching of goby fry called “ipon” during the months of September to October and February to March in Ilocos Norte. The open season is from November to January every year. Fishermen from “sabangan”* or mouth of the river, follow the movement of the fry upstream up to 15 km to trap them.
The catching or sale of the goby fry is one of the principal means of sustaining the livelihood of Ilocano fishermen. Although they are also able to catch some other fishes in the open seas, this is negligible compared to what they earn during the goby fry season.