LGU orders 2-year closure of fishkill-affected fish cages in Bolinao

Marje Pelayo   •   June 6, 2018   •   4192

PANGASINAN, Philippines – The local government of Bolinao in Pangasinan will close all fish kill-affected fish cages in three barangays in the municipality.

These are Barangays Culang, Luna, and Luciente II which have been hit by massive fish kill that began on May 29.

Pangasinan’s provincial fishery coordinator Zenaida Ugaban said the local government recommended a close season for milkfish and lapu-lapu production because of the fish kill.

The two-year moratorium will take effect from July 2018 to 2020.

Ugaban said the moratorium will also include several fish pens in nearby barangays that are not affected by the fish kill, but assured that not all will be closed down.

“In consideration daw po ay meron pa naman pong naiwan na mga cages and pens in these barangays,” Ugaban said.

(In consideration, there are still some cages and pens left in these barangays. )

Based on the latest assessment of the provincial government, the damage from the fish kill has now reached to more than 120 million pesos collectively in the towns of Anda and Bolinao.

Affected fishermen expressed concern about the closure since fishing is their only source of income.

“Marami kaming mawawalan ng trabaho. May pamilya kami. Saan kami maghahanap ng pang araw-araw nilang pang-gastos,” said Bernard Caigas, a local fisherman.

(Many of us will lose their jobs. We have families. Where will we find the money for our daily expenses?)

Bernard Donato, who also relies on fishing for his family’s living, echoed the same , “Mahirap talaga. Wala na. Kung ipapasara ang fish cage, wala nang trabaho sa Bolinao. Iyon lang talaga ang hanapbuhay namin dito.”

(It’s really difficult. If they close down the fish cages, there will be no more jobs in Bolinao. It’s our only source of income around here.)

For now, the provincial government is discussing the possible livelihood programs for fishermen and owners of fish cages and pens affected by the fish kill. — Grace Doctolero / Marje Pelayo

PCG still searching for missing 7 Pangasinan fishermen

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday said search operations are still ongoing for the seven fishermen who went missing after they left the shores of Dasol, Pangasinan.

In a statement, the PCG said an aerial search is being conducted to look for the missing fishermen. Personnel from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy are also assisting in the search and rescue operations.

The missing fishermen onboard FB Narem 2 reportedly went out to catch some fish last January 6. The group was expected to return to Infanta, Pangasinan on January 14, according to fishing boat owner Christine Macaraig.

The vessel is skippered by Alberto Roldan, with crew members Roderick Montemayor, Homar Maglantay, Jerome Maglantay, Ejay Dela Cruz, Larry Legaspi, and Jefferson Bernabe.

The fishing vessel’s location was last reported at 60 to 90 nautical miles off Camaso Island in Dasol.

The PCG said another vessel will be deployed to help in the search effort.

The agency also called on other local fishers to report to authorities any sighting of the missing fishermen. — RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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)

Retired cop killed in Calasiao ambush

Robie de Guzman   •   January 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A retired policeman was killed in an ambush in Calasiao, Pangasinan on Thursday afternoon.

Initial police report identified the victim as retired police general Marlo Chan.

Authorities said Chan was onboard his vehicle when he was attacked by still unidentified armed men.

The ambush took place around 2:50 p.m. at Barangay Nalsian in Calasiao town.

Police said investigation is underway to identify the suspects and the possible motive behind the incident. – RRD

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