7th February 2014;
Almost 70,000 kilos of fresh water fish have died in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, officials said on Friday.
Mayor Antonio Fungan of the uptown Lake Sebu said the fishkill was noticed the past week and is continuing.
Fisher folk ringing the famous lake have lost more than half a million pesos worth of Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.).
Fungan said the “calamity” that hit the lake can be considered to have already been contained, but added that the possibility of the fishkill recurring is high unless something concrete is done.
He appealed to fish cage owners to cease from expanding so the Tilapia could have enough room to roam around the lake and prevent shortage of food.
Following the fishkill, Fungan said the municipal agriculture office distributed Tilapia fingerlings to about 52 fish cage operators as assistance, and to prevent a shortage of freshwater fish in the market.
The town executive said fishkill, or locally known as “kamahong,” usually occurs once a year or once every two years.
“This is already alarming. This is the town’s main source of income and the lake is a tourist spot,” Fungan told DXOM-Happy FM in Koronadal City.
Fungan said aside from Tilapia, the major fish variety in Lake Sebu, also killed were smaller fish species locally known as “Ayungin” (Silver Perch) (Leiopotherapon plumbeus).
To prevent a bigger catastrophe, Fungan appealed to fishcage owners to reduce the sizes of their cages and avoid over expansion.
He warned that the local government unit will not hesitate to implement forced dismantling to save the lake and the livelihoods dependent on it.