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BFAR: Batangas fish kill problem may last for a month
by Joeven C. Calasagsag - Tuesday, 31 May 2011, 01:23 PM
GMA NEWS Online; 05/31/2011 | 09:36 AM

An official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said on Tuesday the fish kill problem in Taal Lake in Batangas province may last for about a month.

In an interview over dzBB radio, BFAR Region IV-A officer-in-charge Director Esmeralda Manalang said "It will take siguro one month for as long as mag-cooperate ang weather. Ang number one factor is the unfavorable weather condition aggravated by (the) deteriorating water quality."

Manalang said the fish kill has so far affected 752 metric tons of fish, including tilapia and bangus (milkfish), worth over P57 million.

The affected areas include Talisay, Agoncillo, Laurel, and San Nicolas in Batangas, she said.

Manalang said the BFAR is not discounting the possibility of another fish kill if the weather or lake water conditions do not improve soon.

"We just pray umayos ang panahon," she said.

Fingerlings for affected fishermen

Manalang said the BFAR intends to distribute fingerlings to affected fishermen but the lake water in the affected area cannot sustain the fish at this time.

She said waters at the affected areas have a low level of dissolved oxygen, making it unfavorable for aquaculture at this time.

"Mababa pa rin ang level ng oxygen. At kung mapapapunta kayo sa Taal Lake, it is partly cloudy," she said.

Assessing the situation

Manalang said the BFAR will visit the affected areas to assess the situation.

She said initial estimates indicate that some of the fish in the affected areas may still be saved.

"Ang aming palagay 30 percent ang natitira, pwede pang isalba ... The BFAR is in the process of assessing the entire (area), estimate pa lang ang binibigay namin. Mahirap magbigay ng accurate figures ," she said.

On eating the affected fish

Manalang said fish in the affected area may still be eaten even if it is still gasping.

"Kung naghihingalo pwede pa kainin. Huwag lang ang namatay kasi pag namatay may bacteria na, unsafe na," she said.

Manalang gave the advice after receiving information local fishermen are still selling the "double dead" fish at prices as low as P30 per kilo.

On Monday, in an interview aired on GMA News’ “24 Oras" newscast, BFAR officer-in-charge Benjamin Tabios said eating double dead fish is hazardous to health.

“Meron na ring lason ‘yan. Nakakasira na rin ng katawan ‘yan, magtatae ka," Tabios said.

The BFAR and the Department of Health issued guidelines in buying fish from the market:
(1) Choose only fish with pinkish gills, an indication of freshness.

(2) Ask the vendor where the fish came from.

(3) Buy fish only from trusted vendors.

Fish prices still stable

In Metro Manila, the prices of fish remained stable despite the scare over the fish kill in Batangas.

A report by radio dzBB's Denver Trinidad said there was no change in the prices of bangus and tilapia at a talipapa (flea market) in Bangkal in Makati City.

The report said vendors gave buyers tips on how to tell tilapia and bangus are from Talisay in Batangas, one of the affected areas.

It quoted the vendors as saying tilapia from Talisay is dark-colored compared to those from other provinces.

According to the report, the vendors also said bangus from Dagupan or Pangasinan are larger and light-colored. (- VVP, GMA News )

Source: BFAR: Batangas fish kill problem may last for a month
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