Batangas fish kill damage hits P42.9 million

Arnell Ozaeta - The Philippine Star
Batangas fish kill damage hits P42.9 million
Dead fish are buried in a pit in Barangay Buso-Buso, Laurel, Batangas yesterday.
Ernie Peñaredondo

BATANGAS, Philippines — At least 605 metric tons or P42.9 million worth of tilapia have been affected by a fish kill in two coastal towns in this province.

Maria Paz Luna, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Calabarzon director, said 121 fish cages in Barangays Buso-buso and Gulod in Laurel town and Banaga in Agoncillo were affected on Friday.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the fish kill was due to the water’s  low oxygen content.  

On Sunday last week, the BFAR advised fish cage owners to harvest their stocks after the level of oxygen reached a dangerously low 2.8 parts per million. The normal level is between 5 to 6 ppm.

The fish kill was reported on Monday in only 10 fish cages. 

Dead fish in 33 cages have yet to be removed as of yesterday.

“Not all fish cage owners are capable harvesters since they do not own large boats... The harvesters are hauling dead fish from their own cages. Existing boats will  temporarily serve as aerators until the quality of water improves,” Luna said. 

Fish cage owners were ordered to bury the dead fish within 24 hours or face sanctions.

The DENR said the fish kill is not expected to affect the supply and price of tilapia.  

“This... comprises a small percentage... While consumers should continue to check their fish purchases for freshness, there is no cause for alarm,” Luna said.

She said the DENR and concerned local government units are monitoring the situation.

Fishing ban

Meanwhile, the BFAR implemented a three-month ban on commercial fishing in Davao Gulf, which started yesterday, to give tuna and pelagic fishes such as mackerels, scads and sardines, to spawn and allow key fishing grounds to recover.

The fishing ban also aims to stop illegal fishing in the gulf.

The BFAR said the gulf remains open to fisherfolk within their realm of municipal waters.

Bantay Dagat personnel will monitor fishing in the waters off Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental,  which are spawning ground for tuna and other fishes, it added. – With Ed Amoroso, Rhodina Villanueva, Edith Regalado

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