FISHERFOLKS BELIE REPORTED FISHKILL IN DAGUPAN CITY
DAGUPAN CITY – Fishermen of Sitio Talaib in Calmay and Sitio Tocok in Lucao denied a reported fish kill that allegedly broke out in the city during the onslaught of “habagat” as published on August 20 in a national daily.
In an interview, fishermen Roland Vinoya and Rosemarie Gonzales, both from Talaib, Calmay; and Ricardo Jose and Nelia Perez, both from Sitio Tocok, Lucao, said there is no truth to the news report that there was a fishkill and if indeed it happened, only one or two pieces of bangus perished due to the murky water that flowed from the upstream at that time.
“Ang maaring dahilan kung bakit napopolute ang tubig sa ilog ay dahil sa mga remnants ng fertilizers mula sa bukid na inaagos ng baha papunta sa ating mga ilog, bukod pa sa kulay lupa ang ilog dahil sa ilang araw na pag-ulan,” said Gonzales.
While the rivers and the coastal areas are the main sources of livelihood for most Dagupenos that significantly contribute to the city’s economic growth, it is also one of the city’s primary concerns to protect all these from abuses.
Thus, Mayor Belen T. Fernandez created the Task Force Bantay Ilog to protect the city’s aquatic resources against illegal fishpens and blast fishing operations.
This resulted in the demolition of 508 illegal fishpens covering an estimated area of 7.8 hectares from July 2013 to date.
On the other hand, 63 fishponds allegedly covered by land titles are under validation by the City Assessor’s Office in order to check the claim of the owners as to the veracity of their ownership over these properties after most of the fishponds became underwater over the years.
With the fishpond dismantling, the city was able to prevent an estimated 1.5 million bags of feeds and residuals from being unloaded into the water and polluting the city’s rivers.
Thus, because of this campaign the city has not registered any incident of fishkill to date since 2014.
“If more than P30 million worth of lapu-lapu and malaga perished in the fishponds due to the polluted water as was reported, then why were there no reports on bangus fishkill. This is very unlikely,” said City Agriculture Officer Emma J. Molina.
Aside from enforcing a “no fish pen policy”, the city will soon implement plastic, debris and fishnet recovery program to free the rivers from pollution and unwanted materials and help fishermen improve their catch.
Because of this campaign, Mayor Belen Fernandez was invited to share the city’s best practices in protecting the rivers dueing the 17thmeeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on June 13-17. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Aug. 24, 2016)
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