Philippines: BFAR: No fish kill in Pangasinan

By Leonardo Micua, 7th October 2017;

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has denied the occurrence of a fish kill in Sual Bay here early this week, saying it was the result of overstocking of Milkfish (Chanos chanos) fingerlings by operators.

BFAR Region 1 (Ilocos) Director Nestor Domenden said Friday two operators overstocked their cages, each one measuring 85 square meters, with 85,000 fingerlings, although it can only accommodate 45,000.

There are estimated 750 fish cages in the Sual Bay area, Domenden said.

Up to 30 metric tons of fish reportedly died from this episode, which was the result of the thinning of dissolved oxygen needed by the fish in the water, the BFAR official said.

Fish kill is commonly caused by pollution or by other contaminants.

Domenden said when an operator overstocks his cage twice the allowable number, some of the fish would naturally die as they compete for the only available dissolved oxygen in the water.

It was fortunate that the affected operators were able to harvest half of their fish before the incident, he said.

Domenden called on the local government of Sual, Pangasinan to strictly monitor the operations of fish cages to avoid a repeat of overstocking of fingerlings.

He noted that Sual had a standing municipal ordinance recommending the proper stocking of fish cages, yet it was disregarded by the two affected operators.

According to a report, the fish cages of Sual, located in a mariculture area designated by BFAR, are owned by local and foreign corporations.

All of these have a combined production of some 300,000 metric tons of fish yearly, being sold in North and Central Luzon and Manila.

Sual Mayor Roberto Arcinue has confirmed the findings of BFAR that no fish kill happened in his town.

Source: Northbound Philippines News Online

Philippines: BFAR: No fish kill in Pangasinan

Dead fishes at Lim Chu Kang, 19 Jul 2016
By Ria Tan, 19th July 2016;

I checked up on Lim Chu Kang Jetty again. There are no freshly dead fishes, but the ‘old’ dead fishes are still there. And once again, I saw a truckload of expired biscuits being delivered, probably to be fed to the farmed fishes.

Why are hundreds of dead fishes washing up at Lim Chu Kang? The explanation given to the media so far, no fish losses “beyond normal losses”, deaths attributed to low dissolved oxygen and not to plankton bloom. But how can this be “normal losses” when we don’t normally see this many dead fishes washing up at Lim Chu Kang? And even if they were “normal losses” why are farms allowed to dump their dead fishes into the sea?

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Source: Wild Shores of Singapore

  1. Dead fishes along coastline at Lim Chu Kang jetty on July 18.
  2. Large numbers of dead fish were found near Lim Chu Kang jetty on July 18.
  3. Workers pushing trolleys of dead fish along Lim Chu Kang jetty on July 18.
  4. Dead fish floating on the water near Lim Chu Kang jetty yesterday. Fish farmers blamed the deaths on low levels of dissolved oxygen in the waters of the West Johor Strait, along which about 50 fish farms are located.

Photos: Lim Yaohui

Lim Chu Kang fish deaths ‘due to low oxygen levels’
Fish farms not badly affected; AVA had sent alert last Friday about risk
By Goh Yan Han, 19th July 2016;

Large numbers of dead fish were found near Lim Chu Kang jetty yesterday morning, washed up on the shore or afloat at sea.

Fish farmers attributed the deaths to low levels of dissolved oxygen in the waters of the West Johor Strait, along which about 50 fish farms are located.

The chief executive of The Fish Farmer, Mr Malcolm Ong, 52, told The Straits Times: “According to my monitoring system, dissolved oxygen levels in my farm have been decreasing since July 8.

"There was a marginal increase on July 12 but after that, it came down again and has remained low since. We have been prepared and our staff are on 24-hour standby.”

“As we are not near an open coast, water is slow moving such that dissolved oxygen levels deplete more quickly,” he said.

Fish Farmers Association of Singapore president Timothy Ng said such occurrences are frequent in the Lim Chu Kang area. He said: “Unless the environment improves in terms of water flow, this will recur from time to time and I’m not sure how it can be stopped.”

Farms tend to install aerators that churn the water and ensure there is sufficient supply of dissolved oxygen when levels are low, although these are not always sufficient to prevent deaths.

However, none of the farms contacted by Mr Ng or The Straits Times suffered serious losses.

Dissolved oxygen levels can also differ from farm to farm, said Mr Ong, who monitors the levels and uses pumps and aerators to mitigate any negative impact on his farm. His farm has had several baby fish deaths this past week, a normal occurrence when dissolved oxygen levels are low.

According to Mr Ong, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) sent out an automated alert last Friday about the possibility of low dissolved oxygen levels, and asked farmers to be vigilant. AVA did not respond to queries by press time.

Both Mr Ng and Mr Ong ruled out the possibility of a plankton bloom as a reason for the low levels of dissolved oxygen.

In February last year, a plankton bloom, which gobbles up oxygen in the water, killed an estimated 500 to 600 tonnes of fish, affecting 55 out of 63 fish farms along the East Johor Strait.

Farms in the Lim Chu Kang area were also severely affected by a plankton bloom in March last year, with one of the farms losing all 35 tonnes of its fish.

Source: The Straits Times

  1. I went to Lim Chu Kang Jetty at about 10pm at high tide and there were some dead fishes clustered at the jetty.
  2. More of the dead fishes at Lim Chu Kang Jetty.
  3. Some look like Milkfish, others look like sea bass?
  4. At around 10.30am today, a concerned nature lover shared sightings of what looked like hundreds of dead fishes floating in Sungei Buloh Besar river with the outgoing tide.
  5. Photo of hundreds of dead fishes taken from Platform 1 at Sungei Buloh facing the fish farms nearby, shared by a concerned nature lover.
  6. Most of the dead fishes documented by the concerned nature lover looked like this and were about the same size.
  7. By the time I got to Sungei Buloh at around 3pm, the tide had already fallen and most of the floating dead fishes washed out of the river. There were some dead fishes stranded on the shore from the mid to low water mark.
  8. I checked out new Sungei Buloh extension (Kranji Nature Trail) and there were some dead fishes scattered along the route.
  9. Most of the dead fishes looked like this and were about the same size.
  10. At around 10.30pm, I stopped by Kranji Dam and also saw a few dead fishes there.

I saw some dead fishes at Lim Chu Kang Jetty tonight.

Earlier this morning at around 10.30am today, a concerned nature lover shared sightings of what looked like hundreds of dead fishes floating into Sungei Buloh Besar with the incoming tide.

I only managed to get there around 3pm and the tide had already gone down. So I saw only some dead fishes at Sungei Buloh Besar as well as the Kranji extension.

Most of the dead fishes were about the same size and look like the Milkfish (Chanos chanos) farmed by the largest fish farm in that area.

Most of the wild fishes seemed alright although there were some Archerfishes (Toxotes sp.) gasping at the water surface at the Main Bridge.

I will check the entire shore again tomorrow.

You CAN make a difference: Dead Fish Alert!

Please help me monitor dead fishes washing up on the Johor Straits. Please let me know if you see large numbers (more than 10) especially of large dead fishes (more than 20cm long) washing up on the northern shores such as Pulau Ubin, Lim Chu Kang, Sungei Buloh, Kranji, Woodlands Waterfront, Sembawang, Punggol, Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris, Changi.

There are too many shores for me to personally check, so I really appreciate any info or photos that you can share. Thank you!

Source: Ria Tan Facebook

Besides Milkfishes, one of the dead fishes photographed at Sungei Buloh is a Grey Mullet (F. Mugilidae), likely a Flathead Grey Mullet (Mugil cephalus), which is also raised by the fish farms off the coast.

Photo: Julie Anne Jimena Celzo Facebook

Philippines: BFAR says heavy deposit of organic matters causing recurring fishkills in Pangasinan
25th May 2016;

Organic matters that had accumulated for years along the Caquipotan Channel, a body of water between the towns of Bolinao and Anda in Pangasinan, had made the area very susceptible always to fishkills, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.

Dr. Westly Rosario, chief of the BFAR’s National Integrated Fisheries Technology and Development Center (NIFTDC) based in Dagupan City, said the heavy deposit of organic matters in the bottom of the water was spawned by unsustainable aquaculture activities in the area for years.

At one area of the channel, the deposit of organic matter is measured at 32 centimeters thick and at another, especially the section from the steel bridge to Bolinao, it is more than one meter deep, Rosario said.

The Caquipotan Channel is the location of hundreds of floating fish cages and fish pens, all raising Milkfish (Chanos chanos) that need commercial fish for them to grow.

The commercial feeds unconsumed by the fish as well as the droppings of the fish in captivity are deposited in the bottom of the water to rot, causing pollution.

To date, the flushing out of water from north to south takes for sometime because of the heavy deposit of organic matters that are now decaying, Rosarfio said.

Rosario said that the biggest fishkill ever registered in the area happened in 2002, an incident which even caught world attention, prompting the Norway government to come to the aid of the Philippines by extending modern equipment and technical personnel who transferred improved fish farming technologies from their country to local technicians.

The equipment extended by Norway are now being used to help monitor water pollution in the aquaculture areas of Pangasinan as well as in other parts of the country, said Rosario.

He said following the advice of aquaculture experts after the 2002 record fishkill, the number of fish structures along the Caquipotan Channel was reduced a little bit but not substantially.

That was why in subsequent fishkills such as the one that happened last May 18, 19, 20 this year, aggravated by the occurrence of neap tide, fish losses were not as big anymore as the one registered in 2002.

Nevertheless, Rosario believes that the threat of further fishkill along the Caquipotan Channel will continue if fish farmers will not heed his call for moratorium of aquaculture activities there as well as the removal of heavy organic matter deposits.

Rosario maintained that because of years of overused, the Caquipotan Channel cannot accommodate anymore extensive aquaculture activities and must be allowed to rest for a while.

He repeated his earlier suggestion for the transfer of the fish cages in any feasible area in the Lingayen Gulf or in mid sea which is being done successfully in Norway that is now one of the biggest exporters of Salmon (Salmo salar).

Rosario also suggested that oyster props, beds and sticks be installed to replace fish cages along the Caquipotan Channel as Oysters (F. Ostreidae) and Mussels (F. Mytilidae), which have high commercial value both locally and abroad, can help clean the channel of organic matters.

Source: Northbound Philippines News Online

Photo: Julie Anne Jimena Celzo Facebook

Philippines: Massive fishkill breaks out anew in Western Pangasinan
By Leonardo Micua, 25th May 2016;

Millions of pesos worth of Milkfish (Chanos chanos) died in a massive fishkill that broke out anew along the Caquipotan Channel in Bolinao and Anda towns over the weekend during the occurrence of neap tide when the dissolved oxygen in the water went to as low as 2 parts per million (ppm).

This was bared by fishery officials of both towns who confirmed that most of the fish that died floated in fish cages and had to be gathered and brought to shore to be buried in holes so that they will not cause foul odor.

A report stated that many fish farmers had to undertake forced harvesting though their fish are not yet of marketable sizes in a bid to at least minimize their losses.

The neap tide occurred at a time when it was already raining in the coastal areas of Pangasinan, which changed the temperature of the water from hot to cold.

The Caquipotan channel, a body of water separating the towns of Bolinao and Anda, is the location of about a hundred fish pens owned by big businessmen and officials.

Owners of these fish pens have not learned their lesson as they continue to overstock their pens and therefore make these prone to fishkill as there is hardly any space left in the water anymore for the fish to breathe, officials of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.

The report further stated that because of forced harvesting in the Milkfish-producing areas of Bolinao and Anda, the price of Milkfish in the Dagupan Fish Market went down a bit by P5 to P10, from P110 per kilo the previous week to P95 to P100 today.

Corollary to this, authorities in Dagupan alerted market inspectors to be vigilant over Milkfish affected by fishkill being mixed with fresh fish that are brought in by delivery trucks coming from western Pangasinan.

No fishkill was noted yet in Dagupan and in Sual town due to better aquaculture practices by their fish farmers even during the occurrence of neap tide.

Source: Northbound Philippines News Online

Photo: Julie Anne Jimena Celzo Facebook

Philippines: Fish kills reported in Pangasinan and Negros Occidental; bangus prices fall
By John Ted Cordero, 25th May 2016;

Changes in weather pattern have caused fish kills in two municipalities of Pangasinan.

According to a report on News To Go on Wednesday, the fish kills occurred in the municipalities of Anda and Bolinao.

Fish trade in two barangays of Bolinao and Anda were affected by the said fish kill.

Thirty percent of bangus (Milkfish) (Chanos chanos) have died causing the prices to fall at P10 per kilo, the report said.

The municipal agriculturist explained that the fish kills were caused by changing weather.

He added the weather is very hot during morning but rain will fall suddenly in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, a fish kill was also reported in Binalbagan River in the municipality of Isabela, Negros Occidental.

According to the Municipal Agriculture Office of Isabela, various fishes like Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) and haluan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata) died after rainfall.

Authorities are looking into sulfur contamination as the cause of the fish kill, the report said.

Ashes and pyroclastic materials from Mt. Kanloan were possibly washed through Binalbagan River.

Authorities advised residents not to eat the dead fishes as these might poison them.

They also took mud and water samples from the river to find out the real cause of the fish kill.

Source: GMA News Online

Photos of a fishkill that took place along the coast of Bolinao, Pangasinan on 22nd May. Some of the locations affected include Dewey (on the island of Tagaporo), Pilar and Salud (on Santiago Island), which are barangays in Bolinao, while others, such as Awag (on Cabarruyan Island) and Siapar (on Siapar Island), are barangays in Anda, another municipality in Pangasinan. The victims are Milkfish (Chanos chanos), a species that is raised in fish farms throughout much of the Philippines.

Sources: Jonathan Cudal Facebook and Julie Anne Jimena Celzo Facebook, shared by Josie Damaran Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Milkfish (Chanos chanos)
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 2nd February 2016

This photo of the carcass of a Milkfish was shared by Yap Xinli. I also came across it later that same day and took some photos of my own.

The location of this dead fish, on one of the wooden bridges within Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, suggests that it had been picked up and then dropped by another animal, possibly a Bird of Prey or a Feral Dog (Canis lupus familiaris).

Given that Milkfish are raised in some of the fish farms in the waters of the western Straits of Johor, it is difficult to determine whether the Milkfishes found in these waters are of captive or wild origin.

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Indonesia: Phytoplankton population explosion caused death of fish in Ancol: Indonesian Institute of Sciences

2nd December 2015;

The mass death of fish, found washed ashore North Jakartas Ancol Dream Land beach, was due to a population boom of the Coscinodiscus species of phytoplankton, noted the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

In a press statement here on Wednesday, the Oceanic Research Center of LIPI said the phytoplankton population had significantly reduced the oxygen content in the water.

According to LIPI, based on tests conducted on the water samples taken from three locations on Ancol beach on Tuesday, the oxygen content in the water was found to be very low at only 0.765 milliliters per liter (ml/L), while the normal oxygen level is about four to five ml/L.

The low content of dissolved oxygen is the cause of the mass death of fish at Ancol beach. Based on the observation, the density of phytoplankton was recorded at one to two million cells per liter of water.

Coscinodiscus spp. is one of the species that is actually not dangerous, but since it has a large number of cells, it absorbs a significant amount of oxygen, thereby resulting in a drop in the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Thousands of dead fish were found washed up along the Ancol beach early on Monday.

The fish species found dead included Milkfish (Chanos chanos), Mullet (F. Mugilidae), and Snapper (F. Lutjanidae).

Source: Antara

Indonesia: Phytoplankton population explosion caused death of fish in Ancol: Indonesian Institute of Sciences