BFAR exec debunks fishkill in Dagupan
(The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The head of the Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources – National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (BFAR-NIFTDC) has disputed recent reports of a fishkill in Dagupan City, warning the public against using loose terminology to describe an otherwise stable situation.

“Some people are calling it a case of fishkill, which is wholly misleading,” said Dr. Westley Rosario.

“There were a number of fish that died in isolated fishponds, but not in the river. This suggests that the stocking density of these fishponds was high, aggravated by the recent rainfall,” Rosario noted.

Fishkill is technically defined as the mass death of aquatic animals, caused by a decrease in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water, or by the appearance of toxic substances in the water.

“Dagupan is one of the most meticulous cities in the Philippines in terms of water quality testing. Toxicity is definitely out of the question,” Rosario said.

“The lowest dissolved oxygen measured in the past three days was two parts per million (ppm), but the other areas had higher readings. Since the fish mortalities mostly happened in fishponds, the problem could actually be the management of the farmers,” he added.

When presented with the findings, Edwardo Maramba, national president of the Philippine Association of Fish Producers Inc., said the reports that came out in the media were quite exaggerated.

Maramba said it was possible that neap tide, the sudden change of temperature in the water, or overstocking of fishpens caused fish to die.

“This is an act of nature, and not caused by any shortcoming of the local government,” he pointed out.

In numerous occasions, the BFAR has commended Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez for her various projects to uplift the city’s seafood industry (particularly bangus) and protect and preserve the local ecology. Driven by a vision to return the river back to small fishermen, reports have shown that their income has tripled since Fernandez took over in 2013.

In the past two years alone, Fernandez has led the drive to dismantle over 200 illegal fishpens, as well as create distribution channels and support programs for local fishermen.

ACIRC AQUATIC RESOURCES BUREAU OF FISHERIES DAGUPAN DAGUPAN CITY DAGUPAN MAYOR BELEN FERNANDEZ DR. WESTLEY ROSARIO EDWARDO MARAMBA FERNANDEZ NATIONAL INTEGRATED FISHERIES TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT CENTER PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FISH PRODUCERS INC
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