Daily chore: Farmer Sompong Wongbao scoops dead fish from the water at Lamsae Dam reservoir in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Photo: Prasit Tangprasert

Thailand: Farmed fish dying from heat at Lamsae Dam
By Prasit Tangprasert, 19th April 2017;

Fish raised in hinged floating baskets in the Lamsae Dam lake in Khon Buri district have been dying by the hundreds as daytime temperatures rise to nearly 40°C.

Fish farmers said the deaths were probably caused by a drop in the oxygen in the water under the scorching sun.

Sompong Wongbao, 34, said that for the last three days his regular chore had been to scoop out dead and dying fish. He gave them to his neighbours, who would dry or pickle them.

He said the dead fish showed no traces of disease and he believed they simply died from the heat.

Mr Sompong said he had lost about 7,000 baht in income over the past three days.

Other fish farmers at Lamsae Dam were facing the same problem, he said.

Source: Bangkok Post

Photo: Francis Canlas

Philippines: PHP126-M Tilapia destroyed in Lake Sebu fish kill; state of calamity declared
By Allen Estabillo, 2017;

Officials of Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato have placed the entire area under the state of calamity due to a recent massive fish kill that destroyed around P126 million worth of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus).

Roberto Bagong, action officer of the Lake Sebu Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said Thursday the municipal council issued the calamity declaration in a session on Wednesday.

He said the move was based on a recommendation from their office and the MDRRM Council headed by Mayor Antonio Fungan.

But he said the council has set conditions that they need to accomplish in line with the declaration, among them the immediate submission of some documentary requirements.

Three barangays – Poblacion, Takonel and Bacdulong – were earlier placed under the state of calamity due to the impact of the fish kill from January 27 to February 4.

The fish kill, which is considered the worst in Lake Sebu so far, destroyed around 1.4 million tonnes of Tilapia from 4,944 fish cages owned by 464 operators.

Bagong said that based on their latest assessment, the estimated damage value has reached over P126 million. The average farm-gate price for Tilapia in Lake Sebu is at P90 per kilo.

As next move following the calamity declaration, the official said they will convene the town’s fish cage operators and other stakeholders on Monday next week for a dialogue and consultation.

He said they will introduce to local fishing stakeholders various recommendations made by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the provincial government of South Cotabato to help address the recurrent fish kills at the lake.

These include the enforcement of the 10 percent limit of the lake’s area for aquaculture development as set in Republic Act 8850 or the Philippine Fishery Code of 1998.

Around 20 percent of the 354-hectare lake are presently occupied by fish cages or way higher than its carrying capacity.

“They also recommended the setting of a regular closed season for fishing and a moratorium of two to five years for fish cage operations,” he said.

On the part of the municipal government, he said they will push for the immediate cleanup of Water Hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) or Water Lilies (Nymphaea sp.) in parts of the 354-hectare lake.

Bagong said they will also forge memorandum of agreements with fish cage operators for the conduct of regular cleanup in areas that they occupy.

He said they will tap the participation of the barangays in the cleanup activities to ensure that they would be sustained.

Experts noted that the overcrowding of fish cages at the lake, the proliferation of Water Hyacinths and the use of commercial feeds by operators have caused its waters to deteriorate, triggering fish kills.

They trigger the occurrence of “kamahong,” a phenomenon that is mainly caused by the sudden rise in the water’s temperature.

Kamahong,” which usually occurs during the rainy season, triggers the rise of sulfuric acid in the lake’s waters that eventually cause the massive fish kill.

BFAR earlier said results of its water sampling on the lake and other physio-chemical parameters showed that Lake Sebu’s waters are “dying.”

Last year, the municipal government of Lake Sebu recorded at least eight fish kill incidents that destroyed around P1.4 million worth of Tilapia. The last major fish kill in the area was in 2014.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Around 1,383 tons of Tilapia have died in the fish kill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Photo: Francis Canlas

Philippines: Fish kill damage reaches P100-M in South Cotabato
By Francis Canlas, 2nd February 2017;

The fish kill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, has already cost fish farmers over P100 million in losses, authorities said Wednesday.

According to the town’s lake warden, Rudy Muyco, a total of 1,383 tons of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) have died in the fish kill since Friday.

Three barangays have declared a state of calamity because of the fish kill. Vice Mayor Floro Gandam said the Sangguniang Bayan will also hold a special session to place the town under a state of calamity.

Fish dealers have warned that there’s a looming shortage of Tilapia in the area because of the fish kill.

“Sa ngayon wala pa kaming mapagkunan. Kasi yung kapatid ko doon kumukuha sa taas sa Lake Sebu,” said Irene Joy Juanico, a fish dealer in the town of Surallah.

(Right now, we can’t get any supplies. My sibling usually gets supplies from up there in Lake Sebu.)

Juanico said she usually sells more than 20 kilos of Tilapia a day. But right now, there is none to sell.

Muyco said they continue to collect dead fish from the lake for disposal. He added that they are now working to minimize the foul smell of decomposing fish in the area, as this could affect tourism in Lake Sebu.

Local officials said they will use calamity funds to buy fingerlings and fish feed, which will be distributed to the affected operators.

They estimate it will take six to eight months before fish farmers recover from losses incurred in the fish kill.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Photo: Francis Canlas

Philippines: Massive fish kill hits Lake Sebu anew; state of calamity mulled
31st January 2017;

The Municipal Government of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is planning to declare the area under the state of calamity due to another major fish kill that already destroyed around P6.5-million worth of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus).

Zaldy Artacho, Lake Sebu municipal agriculture officer, said Tuesday, January 31, that the ongoing fish kill started late last week in portions of the lake after its dissolved oxygen dropped to critical levels anew.

He said the phenomenon, known locally as “kamahong,” came after almost a week of sporadic heavy rains in the area.

Artacho said several fish cage operators initially reported on Friday afternoon that some of their Tilapia appeared gasping for air.

“By night time, the fish kills already started in a number of fish cages,” he said in a radio interview.

Citing their initial assessment, Artacho said a total of 72,335 kilos of Tilapia have been destroyed as a result of the incident.

The prevailing farm gate price for Tilapia in Lake Sebu is P90 per kilo.

Artacho said this figure only came from 19 affected fish cage operators in Barangays Poblacion and Takonel.

He said the validation and assessment is ongoing for the other affected fish cage operators. It was earlier estimated at more than 300.

Some operators were forced to conduct massive emergency harvests over the weekend in a bid to save the remaining Tilapia, he added.

As a result of the incident, Artacho said Mayor Antonio Fungan ordered their office and the barangays affected to prepare the necessary data for the declaration of a state of calamity.

The affected barangays were also ordered to to fast-track their calamity declarations.

Fishery officials had blamed the fish kills to the occurrence of “kamahong,” a phenomenon caused by the sudden rise in the water’s temperature.

Kamahong,” which usually occurs during the rainy season, triggers the rise of sulfuric acid in the lake’s waters, eventually causing a massive fish kill.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist said the phenomenon occurs when cold rainwater, which is heavier than warm water, settles at the abyssal zone of the lake.

It causes the upturn or upwelling of warm water carrying silts, sediments and gases such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, sulphur and methane gas produced by the decomposing organic matter such as fish feeds.

Such situation results in the reduction of dissolved oxygen in the water, “forcing fishes to take in oxygen directly from the atmosphere and eventually die,” it said.

Last year, the Municipal Government of Lake Sebu recorded at least eight fish kills that destroyed around P1.4-million worth of Tilapia. The last major fish kill in the area was in 2014.

Source: Sun.Star

More than 300 fish cage operators were affected by the fish kill in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato which started since Friday.
Photo: Francis Canlas

Philippines:5 tons of Tilapia die in South Cotabato fish kill
By Francis Canlas, 31st January 2017;

Five tons of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) with an estimated worth of P4.5 million were found dead and floating in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato since Friday.

According to local authorities, more than 300 fish cage operators were affected by the fish kill. The number is expected to rise when an assessment is conducted on Tuesday.

At least 90% of the fish cages were affected by the fish kill.

Jonathan Tomayao, one of the affected operators, lost P225,000 worth of Tilapia fingerlings. He believes non-stop rains last week triggered the fish kill.

Dahan-dahan, kaya ito ang epekto n’ya mas malakas ang epekto. Mas mabuti payung biglaan pagkalipas ng ilang araw, makarekober na sila. Pero kapag ganito ang panahon na dahan-dahan mas malaki ang epekto nito,” he said.

(The rain was gradually pouring, and it has this effect. It’s better to have heavy rains in one go. After a few days, the fingerlings would recover. When the rain is gradual and continuous, it has worse effects on the fingerlings.)

Some operators were forced to harvest and sell their Tilapia to buyers.

Dalawang daliri lang kalaki ipalabas na, baka sakaling mabenta pa, ang iba hindi naman nabenta,” said operator Nilda Prado.

(We harvested fish the size of two fingers in hope of having them sold in the market. Most were not bought.)

The town’s agriculturist, Zaldy Artacho, explained that lack of oxygen caused the fish kill.

Source: ABS-CBN News

  1. Thousand of dead Tilapia were found at a river near Taman Rumpun Bahagia in Bachang.
  2. Bukit Katil MCA Youth chief Lee Chong Guan and Bukit Katil Gerakan secretary Nelson Goh Jin point at the fish carcasses.

Malaysia: Thousands of dead Tilapia end up in Malacca River
By Kelly Koh, 21st November 2016;

The sudden appearance of thousands of dead Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) floating on the surface of the Malacca River near Taman Rumpun Bahagia in Bachang has left even the state Environment Department puzzled.

Malacca Environment Department director Shafe’ee Yasin however, confirmed that the river was not threatened by industrial pollutants.

“Initial investigations by DOE revealed that the river was not contaminated by industrial effluents as there were no factories nearby,” he said.

“We have collected samples of the river water, but we have yet to finalise its results,” he said when contacted by New Straits Times here today.

Shafe’ee said based on previous incidents of dead fish found in the Malacca River, the freshwater Tilapia can be assumed to have been killed by a sudden influx of seawater to the opening of the barrage.

“Freshwater fish living in the Malacca River may likely die as they are unable to tolerate the high salinity in the water after mixing with sea water.

"Another possibility is the effects of sediments on the fishes, where they die from low oxygen,” he added.

Shafe’ee said the department will not hesitate to take action against industrial operations found to be releasing industrial waste into the Malacca River.

“We will check and take action if industrial sites are found to be releasing effluents including during odd hours,” he added.

Checks by the New Straits Times found that the river had since been cleared of fish carcasses.

Meanwhile, Bukit Katil MCA Youth chief Lee Chong Guan and Bukit Katil Gerakan secretary Nelson Goh Jin Juan, who visited the site, urged authorities to identify to cause of the high number of dead fish.

Source: New Straits Times

  • Farmers remove thousands of dead fish from floating cages in the Lake Toba town of Haranggaol in May 2016. The fish died overnight from a lack of oxygen in the water.
  • The lake’s fishing industry lost more than 1,500 tons of Carp (Cyprinus carpio) and Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) in the fish kill.
  • The mass fish kill took days to clean up. More than 100 Lake Toba fish farmers lost their entire stock, costing them thousands of dollars.

Photos: Binsar Bakkara

Photo Essay: How Pollution Is Devastating an Indonesian Lake
Uncontrolled fish farming, population growth, and logging have all taken a toll on Indonesia’s Lake Toba. Photographer Binsar Bakkara returns to his home region to chronicle the environmental destruction.
By Binsar Bakkara, 26th October 2016;

More than 1,500 tons of fish suddenly turned up dead in Indonesia’s largest lake earlier this year, a mass asphyxiation from a lack of oxygen in the water caused by high pollution levels. The event threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of fish farmers and the drinking water for thousands of people, and it shed light on the rapidly declining conditions in Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world.

Population growth, development, deforestation, and a booming caged fishing industry have severely degraded the lake’s water quality over the last two decades, scientists say. There are now 12,000 cages in the lake, each containing upwards of 10,000 fish, which is double or triple their capacities. Agricultural fertilizers, sewage, and most prominently, fish food have increased the levels of phosphorous in the lake three-fold since 2012, according to a government report. The lake, located in the northern part of Sumatra, is classified as either eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic, meaning it has excessive nutrients that can create dead zones with low oxygen levels.

Photographer Binsar Bakkara grew up on the shores of Lake Toba. While a kid in the 1980s and 1990s, “the clarity level of the water in the lake was very good,” Bakkara says. “Objects at 5-7 meters in depth could be seen clearly. But nowadays, it’s almost impossible to see any objects 2 meters deep because of the murky water.” When he heard news of the fish kill, Bakkara headed back to the lake to document the pollution.

Source: Yale Environment 360

Photo: Nonie Evolva Facebook

Philippines: Fish kill damage reaches P100 M
By Louise Maureen Simeon, 21st October 2016;

Losses due to the fish kill in Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur have reached P100 million, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said yesterday.

“Damaged Tilapia may reach 100 metric tons,” said Nonie Enolva, BFAR-Bicol chief.

Enolva said earlier reports that losses have reached P178 million are premature, noting that they are still collating information from concerned local government units.

The BFAR regional office said restocking of fish cages should be suspended until it has been determined that the lake is favorable for fish culture.

The agency also called for the cleaning of sediments and clearing of Water Hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) to improve water circulation.

BFAR said it would set a limit on the number of fish cages to be installed per operator and enforce compliance with reportorial requirements on production as well as stricter ecological solid waste management.

Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) fingerlings will be provided to affected fish pen operators, it added.

Enolva said the fish kill occurred after Typhoon Karen generated inland waves that caused the upwelling of Lake Buhi.

Examination conducted by BFAR showed a compromised level of dissolved oxygen ranging from sub-lethal to normal.

Source: The Philippine Star

Fish cage operators in Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur province harvest Tilapia that survived the latest fish kill in the lake that forced the fish cage owners to sell their produce for as low as P5 per kg.
Photo: Nonie Evolva

Philippines: Lake Buhi fish kill brings P178M in loss
By Juan Escandor Jr., 20th October 2016;

The amount of losses from a fish kill that struck Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur province after Typhoon “Karen” slammed into the Bicol region has reached P178 million, reports from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.

More than 50 km from this city, the 1,600-hectare Lake Buhi in Buhi town is the biggest inland body of water in Bicol where Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) fish culture has been extensive since the 1980s. It is also the home of Sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonensis), a goby species considered to be the smallest commercial fish in the world.

Nonie Enolva, BFAR spokesperson, said the agency’s “conservative estimate” showed that each fish cage operator lost at least P1 million as a result of the fish kill.

Enolva said the fish kill, which started on Oct. 15, happened because of “compromised dissolved oxygen level,” when lake water was disturbed and its level increased due to strong wind and heavy rain whipped up by the typhoon.

Fish stress

“[Lake condition] caused extreme stress to cultured fish,” she said.

Beethoven Nachor, Buhi municipal administrator, said a local government team would assess the environmental impact of the fish kill, account for the number of families affected and prepare a mitigation plan.

Nachor said the team would conduct a cleanup drive since some fish cage operators either left Tilapia rotting in cages or dumped them in the lake.

He said 16 percent of Lake Buhi had been occupied by fish cages, which is 6 percent more than the size allowed for aquaculture development.

History of losses

Nachor said the price of Tilapia has gone down to as low as P5 per kg from a high of P120 per kg after the fish kill.

In 2011, Lake Buhi was also hit by a massive fish kill, with losses estimated to reach P80 million.

Dennis del Socorro, BFAR Bicol regional director, asked the Buhi government to enforce a local law that sets the size of the lake to be devoted to aquaculture to just 10 percent to prevent another fish kill.

Del Socorro also recommended the suspension of re-stocking of cages until the BFAR declares lake water to be favorable for fish culture again.

He said the local government must inventory fish cage operators and set limits on the number of cages they operate.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Thailand: Giant stingrays under threat in Mae Klong River
By Pratch Rujivanarom, 9th October 2016;

Giant Freshwater Stingrays are facing extinction in the Mae Klong River, a leading marine biologist warned yesterday as mass deaths attributed to water pollution killed a large segment of the population.

As many as 20 Giant Freshwater Stingrays were found dead this week along the Mae Klong River in Samut Songkhram. The cause of death was still unknown yesterday, but researchers said poor water quality was a major cause of ecological damage.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of the Fisheries Department at Kasetsart University, said he was concerned about the die-off affecting the rare species of Stingray (Urogymnus polylepis) in the Mae Klong River.

“Giant Freshwater Stingrays are rare fish due to the loss of their habitat and their low fertility rate. The sudden death of a large proportion of the population is very serious. It will take decades to recover the population to levels before the incident and if the situation get worse, we may lose this species of Stingray from the river forever,” Thon said.

Giant Freshwater Stingrays are viviparous fish that produce only one to four offspring at a time and it takes more than 10 years for the fish to mature and become ready to mate.

Given the recent loss of mature rays, it will be very difficult for the population to recover, Thon said.

The species, which is the largest of freshwater Stingrays, is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

The Stingrays are found in the Chao Phraya River basin, the Mekong River and various rivers in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

The population has decreased worldwide, with the IUCN reporting that the Stingray population in the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake had fallen by 50 to 95 per cent while in Thailand the population had declined by 30 to 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, local fisheries researchers are working to save the Stingrays with the head of Kasetsart University’s Samut Songkhram Fisheries Research Station, Weerakit Joerakate, reporting that two rays had been brought to the station for treatment.

“We received a report from local residents on Friday night that they had found one living female Stingray washed ashore. She was two metres wide and four metres long and it was estimated that she was more than 40 years old. Luckily, we could save this precious animal and bring her to the station. Right now her condition is better, as she can swim and move by herself, but we have to let her rest here until the river conditions are better,” Weerakit said.

“The count of dead Stingrays now is around 20, but it seems to be more because of a duplicate count. This is a destructive event for the Stingray population and we are doing our best to save as many surviving Stingrays as we can,” he said.

Thon said an analysis of water quality in the river had found that levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the river were very low. In some areas, DO levels were as low as one milligram per litre, while the level that is required to sustain marine life is six milligrams per litre, Thon said.

“From the observation of the mass fish death, big fish like Stingrays die first, while many smaller fish are still alive. This indicates that the low DO levels are responsible for the fishes’ deaths. However, there are many factors that can lower the water quality, such as water runoff during flood periods, wastewater from residential areas and pollution from industry,” he said. “We will need more tests and evidence to pinpoint what is the real cause of this incident and who is behind it.”

Source: The Nation