Anda’s cultured bangus float dead

December 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

DAGUPAN CITY – At least five tons of bangus (milkfish) turned belly up in three villages of Anda, but the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources refused to call the incident as fish kill.

Ilocos Regional Director Nestor Domenden said “what is considered as fish kill is when at least 10 percent of the stocked fish dies, but the five tons represents only 0.03 percent of the 16,000 available bangus cultured in the area.”

He explained that tons of bangus however, are being forced harvested by operators as their fish structures could also be hit by whatever is causing the bangus to die for the last five days already.

Domenden said the BFAR’s marine emergency response system is collecting all the dead bangus and ensuring that they do not reach the markets.

But there are unscrupulous dealers who tried to sneak questionable bangus from Anda to other towns.

On Tuesday, the Alaminos public and safety office and the police confiscated 452 kilos of bangus from vendors at the Suki market. The fish which came from Anda were deemed unfit for human consumption and were dumped at the city’s disposal area.

Also, nine truckloads of bangus were confiscated at the checkpoint along the highway, but were released after the local government of Anda hastily issued an auxiliary invoice to the dealer. Auxiliary invoice are issued by the local government units where fishery products originate to show that these are safe for human consumption.

Domenden said it is low level of dissolved oxygen and neap tide (lowest level of tide when there is almost no water movement) that is causing the fish kill.

But beyond the natural phenomena, it is the proliferation of fish structures way beyond the carrying capacity of the water that caused the fish kill, he said.

In Siapar, Anda alone, where the plague started, there are 285 fish cages each stocked with 40,000-60,000 bangus. All the cages are owned by only seven persons, according to the BFAR personnel assigned at the area to monitor water condition, Domenden said.

“They did not follow the recommended number of cages in a certain area,” he said, noting that there was no estimate of losses yet.
But he refused to name the operators, saying it was the local governments which issue permits for aquaculture ventures.

The bangus started to turn belly-up on Saturday in Siapar at the mouth of Kakiputan Channel towards the Lingayen Gulf. Then the plague spread to the island town’s villages of Nara and Dolaoen two days ago.

In the morning of Wednesday, the “curse of nature” has reached Salud village in Bolinao, Bolinao municipal administraro Fred Castelo said.
“The worst is yet to come, as neap tide which started on December 21, will continue up to December 31,” Domenden said.

He explained that the operators actually knew about the impending fish kill because of the BFAR”S regular monitoring of water quality.

“Since five days ago, they were already force harvesting their stocks. But there is really over-production that they can’t harvest all at the same time so the fish started to turn belly-up,” Domenden said.

Fred Castelo, Bolinao’s municipal administrator, said the event seemed out of the Bible pages: First the water areas used for fish culture in Anda and Bolinao turned red because of toxins caused by algal bloom. When the toxins have dissipated, a milky white line of water of several meters wide passed through the aquaculture areas, killing everything on its way.

This is what happened again in the aquaculture areas of the two western Pangasinan towns which share the Kakiputan Channeland which, for the fifth day, are suffering from the fish kill scourge.

Aquaculture operators fear this “white water monster” as it means their millions of investments would be sinking in the murky and stinking water.

This is the third consecutive year that the Anda-Bolinao fishery areas were hit by fishkill.


Entry filed under: News.

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