BFAR braces for fish kills

    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Luzon will buy starting this week (March 1-6) the first batch of 50 shallow tube wells (STWs) that will help prevent incidents of fish kills in the region that produces the biggest volume of tilapia, prawn and crabs in the country.

    Remedios Ongtangco, BFAR regional director, said the instruction to make the “emergency purchases” of STWs came from BFAR chief Malcolm Sarmiento last Wednesday.

    “We are authorized to buy more as the situation progresses,” she said in a phone interview
    Incidents of fish kills happen when the oxygen in the water is depleted due to hot temperature and little rainfall.

    The manifestations are beginning to show in fishponds within the Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija portions of the Candaba Swamp, Ongtangco said. 

    BFAR data showed that about 40,000 hectares of fish ponds are operated in Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga and Zambales.

    The region is the second highest producer of bangus (milkfish) in the country, she said.

    Ongtangco said BFAR personnel have sent out advisories to growers. Among the recommendations include the use of STWs as a source of water. Growers are also encouraged to make partial harvest to be able to reduce the stocking density. This way, there is less stress on the fishes.

    Incidents of fish kills last year were monitored in 1,528 hectares of fishponds in Pampanga, Bulacan and Bataan. These areas are traversed by the Pampanga River that drains out of the Manila Bay. The river is feed by the watersheds of Sierra Madre in Aurora, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

    Ongtangco said the damages due to fish kills last year reached P7.12 million.


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