MANILA – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) urged on Wednesday fishers to practice proper regulation in aquaculture.
The BFAR made the statement after a fish kill was reported in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, BFAR Information and Fisherfolk Coordination Unit Chief Nazario Briguera said the cost of loss has reached PHP12 million.
“Sa ngayon nasa 23 percent ang ginagamit diyan sa Lake Sebu para sa lake farming. At hindi ito makakabuti sa lawa. Kung kaya ang intervention po diyan ng pamahalaan ay ‘yung patuloy na pagpapaunawa tungkol sa good aquaculture practices (As of now, around 23 percent in Lake Sebu is being used for lake farming. It will not be good for the lake. That’s why the intervention of the government is to educate [fishers] on the good aquaculture practices),” he said.
The BFAR noted that fish kill may be affected by various factors including the decline of dissolved oxygen levels, changing climate or even the increase in pollution.
Briguera, however, said proper regulation in fish cages is significant, especially since only 10 percent of the lake is advisable for farming.
Toxic red tide
The BFAR, meanwhile, said interventions on red tide only entail monitoring for public warning.
To date, seven coastal areas are still positive for Paralytic Shellfish Poison or toxic red tide.
This means all types of shellfish from these coastal areas are “not safe for human consumption.”
“It’s a natural phenomenon. Ito po ay isang likas na kaganapan na nangyayari sa ating karagatan. At ang maaari lamang nating gawin ay ma-monitor patungkol po sa pagsulpot nitong red tide at maabisuhan kaagad natin ang publiko. At hindi ito magdulot ng danyos o pagkakalason sa publiko (This naturally happens in our seas. And what we can do is to monitor the occurrence of red tide and immediately advise the public. So this will not result in damage or poisoning of the public),” Briguera said.
Areas that are positive for red tide include coastal waters in Milagros in Masbate; Panay, President Roxas, and Pilar in Capiz; Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol; Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur; and Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur.
More fisheries program
The BFAR also thanked legislators for the approval of their PHP6.9 billion budget for the year.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa kongreso at senado sa pagkakaapruba ng budget na ito. At ito po ay ilalaan ng ahensya para sa iba’t ibang programa (We thank the House of Representatives and the Senate in approving this budget. The agency will allocate this to different programs,” Briguera said.
He said the programs include a fisheries development program, fisheries regulatory and law enforcement program, fisheries extension program, and fisheries policy program, among others.
Apart from these, Briguera also assured the continuous distribution of boats to fishers to help them increase their catch, under the FB Pagbabago program.
As of Dec. 31 last year, 846 fiberglass boats were distributed to 839 individuals and 68 groups. (PNA)