By Anthony Giron, 25th September 2014;
Dead fish have floated on Thursday morning along Maalimango River, a tributary stretching seven barangays (villages) in this town. Authorities suspect a chemical spill as the cause of the vast fish kill.
Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente Jr. ordered an investigation of the river incident that was first reported along the river near the mouth of Manila Bay at sunrise on Thursday. The local chief executive also called a fish gathering restriction and immediate cleaning of the river.
Municipal Media Affairs Officer Sid Samaniego said that fisher residents were shocked to see the dead Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.), banak (Mullet) (F. Mugilidae) and other fish species floating along the tributary in Barangays Bagbag I and II alone as early as 6 a.m. on Thursday.
He cited that it was the first time that such fish kill was reported in the area.
From Barangay Bagbag near the Mount Sea Resort, the river stretches to Tejero I, Ligtong II, III and IV.
“The river turned from bluish to brownish it was observed. The fish kill was reported by residents just as the sun was rising from the horizon. The river was virtually clear at sundown Wednesday. It was the first that the fish kill happened in the area,” said Samaniego.
In an interview, Local Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Officer Rodel Marasigan said that about a ton (1,000 kilos) of dead fish had already been hauled off from the river in Bagbag area as of 10 a.m. on Thursday.
“There were more than one ton of dead fish that had been lifted from the river and there are more fish floating. The fish kill is vast and it was the first time that it happened here,” said Marasigan.
Marasigan said a chemical may be the fish kill “culprit” but he declined to confirm it, pending results from the laboratory examination that had been made.
The BFAR officer and Engineer Marconi Austria, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) had taken dead fish and river water samples for the examination.
Samaniego, citing sources, said that the probable chemical leak may come from one of the three foreign industrial establishments near the river. He withheld the names of the three firms for the meantime pending the examination result.
The sources said that the amount of fishes killed in the area may run up to millions of pesos.
Mayor Ricafrente assured a thorough investigation of the fish kill.
Ricafrente tasked local watchmen led by Isla de Bonito Barangay Chairman Nestor Llanoza and other concerned authorities to stand guard for residents who might get the contaminated fishes along the river.
He and the other administration officials were at the river site on Thursday morning.
Samaniego said that the thousands of dead fish hauled from the river would be buried in a lot in the area to prevent foul smell and that the affected tributary would be cleaned at once.
Source: Manila Bulletin