High temperature possible cause of fish kill in Zamboanga City—BFAR

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 2, 2019   •   2058

Rabbitfishes (danggit) have died by the thousands in Zamboanga City allegedly due to high temperatures

High temperatures are among the possible causes of fish kill in Zamboanga City according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

An estimate of over a hundred thousand danggit or rabbitfish died at Cawa-Cawa Boulevard in Zamboanga City — it’s the first time that this has happened in the province.

According to Assistant Regional Director of BFAR-9 Al-Zath Kunting, rabbitfishes usually swim in shallow parts of the ocean, that is why high temperatures are being considered to have caused their deaths.

“Yes itong danggit hindi siya sa malalim, dito siya sa mga coastline deep on the sea grasses. Usually ang sea grasses dito sa tabing dagat. During summer season ang seagrasses namamatay (Yes, rabbitfishes don’t live in the deeper part of the ocean. They only thrive in coastline deep [areas], on the sea grasses. Sea grasses are usually near the shorelines. [But] during summer season, the sea grasses die),” he said.

Kunting added that temperature above 33 degrees Celsius can already be harmful for rabbitfishes as well as other sea creatures like groupers and porcupine fish.

BFAR already anticipated the kill especially this summer season, but they are also looking into other possible causes including poison or chemical contamination.

“May mga planta kasi dito sa may bandang west coast. Hindi ko sinasabi na nag-ano sila pero baka may nagtapon ng mga kemikal na talagang toxic(There are factories here near the west coast. I’m not saying they are [violating anything] but maybe they dumped toxic chemicals into the ocean),” according to Kunting.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Dante Amento)

Batangas coffee industry hardest hit by Taal’s volcanic ash

Marje Pelayo   •   January 14, 2020

A cow covered in ash rests along damaged trees after a volcano eruption in Laurel, Batangas, Philippines, 13 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from fish kill, the Department of Agriculture (DA) also expressed concern over the huge impact of the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano on the country’s coffee industry.

Given the situation in surrounding communities, the DA said damage to agriculture and fisheries in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite has already reached more than P574 million.

Crops and animals, as well as marine life, have been affected by the hazardous volcanic ash in the Taal region, according to the DA.

Specifically, around 2,772 hectares of farmlands were affected and over 1,967 livestock were accounted as suffering from the calamity.

The most affected is the region’s coffee industry.

According to the Spokesperson to the DA Secretary, Mr. Noel Reyes, there are still ways to recover the affected crops.  

Para ma-recover, iha-harvest na po ang pwedeng ma-harvest (To recover your crops, harvest everything that can be harvested),” Reyes said.

“Iyong kape, i-spray po ng tubig. Iyan po ang immediate muna ngayon (Coffee [trees] can be sprayed [with water]. That’s the immediate thing to do),” he added.

The official also noted that the Bureau of Soil and the Bureau of Plant Industry will conduct soil testing to determine the extent of contamination which can range from negligible to severe, depending on the thickness of ash.

“Kagaya sa Pinatubo. Volcanic soil is rich (in minerals). Maliban sa sulfur, kapag sumingaw na ang sulfur, masustansya (na) (Like in Pinatubo, volcanic soil is rich in minerals. Aside from sulfur, once the [sulfuric content] is released, the soil becomes productive),” Reyes explained.

Meanwhile, about 6,000 fish cages are feared to have been hit hard by the volcanic eruption specifically fish farms of tilapia and tawilis, the only freshwater sardines in the world that are endemic to Taal lake.

DA said continuous volcanic activity may increase the sulfur content in the lake which can lead to massive fishkill.

Nag-issue ng instructions si Secretary (Dar) ngayong umaga kay Director Guingona ng Bureau of Fisheries (and Aquatic Resources) na alamin ang sulfur level nung tubig para malaman kung ito’y poisonous na, in effect baka magkaroon ng fish kill (Secretary Dar instructed Director Guingona of the Bureau of Fisheries [and Aquatic Resources] to check on the sulfur level in water and determine if it’s of poisonous level and in effect could lead to fish kill),” Reyes said.

“Kapag may fishkill, lulutang (ang mga isda) (When there’s a fishkill, fishes would float)” he added.

The Department official said assistance will be provided to fisherfolks and farmers who have been affected especially in hard-stricken areas in Batangas and Cavite.

They can apply for loans from the DA which they can use to recover from their losses due to the calamity. – MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

DA estimates Typhoon Tisoy damage, losses

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2019

Fishermen secure boats in anticipation rain and strong winds brought by Typhoon Kammuri, in Cavite City, Philippines, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Agriculture on Monday (December 9) released the estimated damage and losses brought by Typhoon “Tisoy”.

The department announced that Tisoy caused damage and losses to around Php 3.70B.

In a statement released on Monday, the DA said: “the volume of production loss on rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries amounted to 195,046 metric tons, affecting 132,166 hectares and 92,701 farmers and fisherfolks.”

It explained that the increase from the initial estimate of Php 1.93B happened when updated and additional reports from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Ilocos Region, and Eastern Visayas arrived.

The DA added that, “The damage and losses are only equivalent to 1% of the estimated total rice production by the end of 2019.”

Based on the DA’s monthly projection, losses in rice production is only 9% of the projected production for December. The estimated loss in corn production, meanwhile, was only 1.56%.

The Department said it has an available Php 250 million from the Quick Response Fund (QRF) for rehabilitation.

“The Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) allocated PhP 65 million under the Survival Recovery (SURE) Program for assistance. The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) will fast-track the release of indemnity to farmers and fisherfolk hit by the typhoon,” the statement added.

It further said that they have prepared a total of 93,711 bags of rice seeds, 17,999 bags of corn seeds, 1,979 kgs of high-value crops seed reserves ready for distribution to affected farmers who are ready to replant.

Moreover, 7,500 coconut seedlings from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and 151,142 bags of RCEF seeds for eligible RCEF beneficiaries from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are also ready for distribution in Region 5.

Affected fisherfolks in the region will also receive relief goods, tilapia fingerlings, and fishing paraphernalia (gill nets, bottom set long line, 30ft fiberglass boat engine) from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 5 (BFAR-5).

The DA also said that the concerned RFOs are still conducting field validation to give more accurate reports regarding the impact of Typhoon Tisoy. —mbmf

BFAR: Red tide alert raised in Puerto Princesa, other areas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 17, 2019

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has raised a “red tide” warning in several parts of the country due to reported paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Based on the laboratory results of BFAR, shellfishes collected from the following areas are positive of paralytic shellfish poison:

  1. Puerto Princesa Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
  2. Coastal Waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City, Bohol
  3. Irong-Irong, San Pedro and Silanga Bays in Western Samar
  4. Cancabato Bay, Tacloban City, Leyte

According to BFAR all types of shellfish gathered in the said areas are not safe to eat.

However, other seafoods like fish, squid, shrimp, and crab are safe for consumption provided they are fresh and were thoroughly cleaned before cooking.—AAC

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