Philippines: Villagers call for further probe of Lake Mainit fish kill

By Erwin M. Mascariñas, 7th January 2016;

A village executive and residents in Mainit and adjacent towns in the province of Surigao del Norte are calling for an environmental forum to push for further investigation into the environmental state of Lake Mainit, the country’s deepest and fourth largest lake.

The local folk are seeking more scientific inquiry in the light of a massive fish kill event in November 2015, which caused several fishing communities to suffer huge livelihood and economic loses.

“The fish kill affected the way of life of hundreds of families around the lake. Unfortunately we still don’t have a clear idea as to the cause of the problem and the state of health of our lake,” said Gaudencio Mondano, village executive of barangay Quezon, one of the 21 barangays in the town of Mainit.

On January 28, the village leaders plan to conduct an environmental forum regarding their concerns. “We have invited technical experts from non-government organizations and concerned government agencies for the purpose.”

There are four towns surrounding Mainit Lake, and the majority of the residents rely on fishing as their principal source of income.

“We will also invite other local executives from the other towns. Just in this village, we have about 200 fishing families who are affected by the fish kill. Even if they drop the price of the harvested fish to P20 per kilogram, still almost nobody would buy for fear that the fish might be contaminated,” Mondano added.

“We want to know what is happening in the lake, we want to know from the government agencies about their plans and actions that need to be taken. We need to form a consensus as to what can be done to prevent the same situation from repeating itself in the future. We also need to know if the ongoing mining operation near our area has something to do with the possible poisoning of our lake,” Mondano concluded.

Zimmbodilion Mosende, a local environmental advocate in the town of Mainit who also serves as Strategic Information Adviser at UNAIDS expressed his concern on the environmental situation of the lake: “Until now there is still no clear information regarding what really caused the problem. We have results citing low dissolved oxygen from a news interview with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Caraga office, but as to how the situation became that way, and why, we are still in the dark.”

Mosende added that his concern, and that of his town mates, is the immediate resolution of the environmental issue.

“The people who are living around the lake, the communities, are the ones who are greatly affected. We need more tests on the lake and forensics on the fish and, if possible, another independent body should do another test. We call on the appropriate government agency to immediately investigate the cause of the fish kill and inform the public on the safety of the fish as food, give us advice regarding the fish catch, and disseminate information about how to prevent future fish kills,” said Mosende, who also runs a blog on the environmental concerns surrounding the lake and other related issues affecting the area.

Lake Mainit is the fourth largest lake in the Philippines with an estimated surface area of 173.40 square kilometers and has the deepest bottom in the country, with a maximum depth reaching 223 meters.

Four towns are situated around Lake Mainit, namely: Mainit and Alegria in Surigao del Norte province, and Jabonga and Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte province.

Source: InterAksyon

Philippines: Villagers call for further probe of Lake Mainit fish kill

This photo from a social media account of Edelito Sangco shows a member of the Large Marine Vertebrates (Lamave) Project-Philippines measuring the dead Whale Shark just before it was buried Sunday noon.

Philippines: 24-foot Whale Shark found dead in Siargao village
By Erwin M. Mascarinas, 4th January 2016;

A 24-foot Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) commonly known as butanding was discovered dead along the coastline of the village Pamosaingan in the town Socorro in Bukas Grande Island, one of the islands comprising Siargao, Saturday afternoon.

“I immediately dispatched four of my police personnel to the area and at the same time informed the Municipal Agriculture Office and the Municipal Environment and Natural Resource Office about the dead endangered mammal,” said Police Inspector Alvin Caballes, municipal police chief of Socorro.

Caballes said that by Sunday noon, peak of the high tide, the Whale Shark was buried near the shoreline of Dapja Beach in the same barangay.

“The butanding was secured at around 5 o’clock Saturday afternoon and with the help of non-government organizations the endangered Whale Shark was buried the next day at around 12 noon but finished everything by 3 o’clock Sunday afternoon because of several procedures made by the Large Marine Vertebrates (Lamave) that conducted the necropsy on the animal,” he said.

Caballes, who was just installed as the town’s police chief last December, said this may be the first time a butanding died in the area but could not confirm if similar incidents happened in other parts of Bukas Grande and Siargao Islands.

Edelito Sangco, of the Socorro Empowered People’s Cooperative, pointed out on his social media post that the animal was found entangled in a fishnet.

“Truly, I felt sad with the sight of a member of the largest known fish species in the world measuring 9 feet wide and 24 feet long. According to the net owner Barangay Kagawad Pacquito E. Tatoy, he laid out the net last night and when he, together with his wife, hauled it out this morning, they found the already dead gigantic creature entangled in the fishing gear. They sought the help of the other fishermen from the village who took turns dragging the fish ashore,” said Sangco on his social media account Saturday evening.

According to Sangco and the police chief, Jessica Labaja from Large Marine Vertebrates (Lamave) Project-Philippines based in Pintuyan, Southern Leyte performed the necropsy on the large mammal.

Source: InterAksyon

Why are there so many statements in the Philippines news media about Whale Sharks being mammals?

Indonesia: Chemical spill kills fish in Leyte town

10th December 2015;

Chemical spill from ballast waste discharged by an unnamed vessel has killed fish in Babatngon town in Leyte, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said Wednesday.

The fisheries bureau has sent teams to find out more details on the reported chemical spill and get the identity of the vessel that docked at the oil depot in Bacong village, Babatngon town. The vessel reportedly arrived on Sunday and left Tuesday afternoon.

Citing reports from local fishermen, BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said in a mobile phone interview that in the coastal subvillage of Nabungcagan, at least 300 kilograms of assorted marine products were found dead.

In the nearby Tulaan subvillage, 450 kilograms have been affected by the spill.

“Assorted species were affected including bottom dwellers such as blue swimming crab (F. Portunidae), octopus (F. Octopodidae), stingray (F. Dasyatidae), suggesting chemical spill,” Albaladejo told PNA.

The fish kill has started on Monday and has been spreading to nearby areas until Wednesday noon, according to BFAR.

“Fish appeared sluggish, surfacing from water and dying with gaping mouth. No obvious lesions were seen from body surface,” Albaladejo explained.

The fisheries bureau got the report about the chemical spill on Tuesday from the Office of the Civil Defense.

The BFAR official said that this is not the first time a fish kill hit the coastal area of Babatngon due to oil or chemical spill. The recent incident prompted authorities to look into environmental laws violations of the oil depot.

Babatngon town is about 31 kilometers northwest from Tacloban City.

Source: InterAksyon

Indonesia: Chemical spill kills fish in Leyte town

Philippines: Dolphin found dead in Boracay

3rd August 2014;

Strong waves brought a dead dolphin to the shore of Station 3, Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Boracay Island.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Boracay detachment said the dead dolphin was spotted on Friday by several sailboat enthusiasts some 30 meters away from the shoreline that drew a mob of tourists in the island resort.

The dolphin was estimated to be about one meter in length and weighs some 200 kilos.

The Coast Guard authorities said the sea mammal had a wound near its tail but they could not really determine the cause of its death.

The Maritime Police and Bantay Dagat personnel decided to bring the sea mammal in mainland Malay, Aklan where it was buried.

Source: InterAksyon

Based on photos shared by Bryan S Madera on Facebook, the carcass was that of a Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris).

Philippines: Dolphin found dead in Boracay

Philippines: Major fish kill feared in Pangasinan as water oxygen levels near depletion

6th June 2014;

Fish cage owners along the Caquipotan Channel, between Anda and Bolinao towns in western Pangasinan, need to immediately harvest their stocks after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources warned of the near depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Dr. Westly Rosario, chief of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center, a research arm of BFAR based in Dagupan, said a reading of dissolved oxygen showed only one part per million on the surface of the Caquipotan Channel and almost zero ppm one meter below the surface as of noon on June 5.

A depleted oxygen level of at least 5 is needed for fish to live and grow.

Rosario also said an NIFTDC team that conducted a survey reported that the color of the water has turned brownish because of decaying organic matter at the bottom of the channel.

“This is quite alarming as this can spawn another big fish kill, especially because of the fact that neap tide is going to be experienced in the area and the whole archipelago from June 7 to 9,” Rosario said.

He explained that during neap tide, the water in rivers and bays barely moves, resulting in more oxygen depletion.

The NIFTDC advised fish farmers to use mechanical aerators during the neap tide.

Source: InterAksyon

Philippines: Major fish kill feared in Pangasinan as water oxygen levels near depletion

Dead Tilapias are seen floating in Lake Bato. (PNA photo by John Mark Escandor)

Fishkill hits 70% of tilapia fish cages in CamSur’s Lake Bato
By John Mark Escandor, 23rd May 2014;

Due to a sudden downpour after long sunny days and searing heat, fishkill has hit 70 percent of the fish cages of Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) in Lake Bato, the municipal agriculture office here said on Wednesday.

Municipal Agriculture Officer Alejandro Pili said there are 18,770 fish cages of Tilapia being grown in the 2,810-hectare Lake Buhi, which is surrounded by three barangays of Libon, Albay, and 16 barangays of Bato, Camarines Sur.

Pili, however, could not give the exact value of the losses incurred by more than 200 fish cage owners in Lake Bato, saying they only have three personnel to cover and monitor the fishkill.

He said the peak of the fishkill was from May 7-10 even as, he said, although the situation is gradually “normalizing.”

Pili said the cause of fishkill was oxygen depletion brought about by the result of decaying plankton submerged at the bottom of the lake when the downpour came.

He said the micro-organisms that break down the decaying plankton consumed much of the oxygen in the water, causing the depletion at the same time that ammonia dissolved in the water increased.

Pili said he had advised the fish cage owners to reduce fish stocks in every unit of fish cage from 2,500 to 1,200 as well as the feeding rate from 3-5 percent to 2.5 percent of the body weight of fish, or just feed the stock every other day, to ease the situation.

He said those affected by fishkill were of marketable sizes of 3-5 fingers.

Earlier on May 7, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) warned possible fishkill in the lakes in Buhi and Bato.

Dennis Del Socorro, BFAR regional director, said fishkill occur in fish cages when there are sudden rains for two to three days.

“The fishkill will occur because of sudden change in temperature in the waters of lakes Buhi and Bato,” Del Socorro explained.

He advised the operators of fish cages to harvest their fishes, especially those that had been stocked in January or those that are already ready for market.

Del Socorro said the fishes raised in fishponds will not be affected by the sudden change in temperature because they have control gates to adjust the water temperature.

Source: InterAksyon

Fishkill, May 2011. FILE PHOTO

Philippines: Summer heat can trigger fish kill in Bicol
22nd May 2014;

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol has warned of possible fish kill due to summer heat.

Noime Inulva, chief of the Marine Fisheries Resource Management Section of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 5, said that this summer, water may lose its ability to hold oxygen in a dissolved state or fishes may find it hard to use lower dissolved oxygen levels.

“This summer season, especially in lakes, we can see fishes at the top of the water gasping for oxygen, as they find it hard if the temperature increases, especially during night time where there is less photosynthetic activity,” said Inulva.

At night, fishes also compete with other aquatic plants like water lily (Nymphaea sp.) for oxygen, that is why fish kill can occur, she added.

Temperature is an important factor, the BFAR official said, because the amount of oxygen dissolved in water is inversely proportional to water temperature; as water temperature rises, the amount of dissolved oxygen decreases.

Generally, cooler water has the potential to hold more oxygen, so a period of sustained high temperatures can lead to decreased dissolved oxygen in a body of water.

“But, if ever rain pours after a tremendous heat or hot weather, there is still possibility to have fish kill because they are exothermic… the behavior of fishes can be affected by sudden change in temperature,” Inulva said, adding that even the development of the embryo and the action of the egg shell dissolving enzymes are affected.

The higher temperatures cause premature hatching of unripe embryos, which are mostly incapable of surviving and this can cause loss of production of fishes, especially at the onset of the El Nino phenomenon.

Meanwhile, not only fishes are impacted but also animals that depend on water, Inulva said.

Source: InterAksyon