Philippines: Virus strikes Bulacan pond, kills 101,383 Tilapia – report

By Jasper Y. Arcalas, 7th December 2017;

The lethal Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) has arrived in the Philippines, killing 101,383 Tilapia (likely Nile Tilapia) (Oreochromis niloticus) in a lone Bulacan-based pond in June, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

In a notification submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Livestock Enrico P. Garzon said TiLV killed 101,363 Tilapia out of the 300,000 susceptible population in a Bulacan-based pond, representing a 33.78-percent mortality rate.

Garzon added the outbreak was confirmed last June 29 and has already been resolved by the DA on September 15.

“An unexplained daily mortality of Tilapia fingerlings was observed in the nursery pond of a private farm after stocking on May 16, 2017. Elevated mortality after 15 days reached approximately 25 percent. Affected fish showed distended abdomen and bulging of the eyes,” he said in the notification dated November 23.

Garzon said on May 31, the DA collected samples from the affected farm and were submitted to the Fisheries Biotechnology Center (FBC) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“Semi-nested RT-PCR exhibited positive results using reported Tilapia Lake Virus [TiLV] primers. Other samples submitted to National Fisheries Laboratory- Fish Health of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also showed positive results by insulated isothermal PCR [iiPCR],” he said.

The DA official added the laboratory results indicated that the “amplified 3 segment of the viral ENE [expression and nuclear retention element] has 94 to 95 percent nucleotide similarity to Israel TiLV strain.”

Garzon said the movement of fingerlings from the affected pond has been restricted and monitored. He added that the results of the last two samplings showed negative for TiLV.

On May 26 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations warned countries of TiLV as it is considered a “lethal threat” to food security.

“The outbreak should be treated with concern and countries importing Tilapia should take appropriate risk-management measures—intensifying diagnostics testing, enforcing health certificates, deploying quarantine measures and developing contingency plans,” the FAO said.

“Tilapia-producing countries need to be vigilant, and should follow aquatic animal-health code protocols of the World Organisation for Animal Health when trading Tilapia. They should initiate an active surveillance program to determine the presence or absence of TiLV, the geographic extent of the infection and identify risk factors that may help contain it,” the FAO added.

The FAO said the TiLV poses no public health concern, but could decimate infected populations. The TiLV has been reported in at least five countries in three continents: Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel and Thailand, according to the FAO.

“Tilapia are the second most important aquaculture species in volume terms, providing food, jobs and domestic and export earnings for millions of people, including many smallholders,” it said.

“In 2015 world Tilapia production, from both aquaculture and capture, amounted to 6.4 million tons, with an estimated value of $9.8 billion, and worldwide trade was valued at $1.8 billion,” the FAO added.

Source: Business Mirror

Philippines: Virus strikes Bulacan pond, kills 101,383 Tilapia – report

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

  • A carpet of dead fish in one of the floating net cages in Lake Toba.
  • Masses of dead fish are hauled away in plastic bags.

Photos: Ayat S Karokaro/Mongabay, Mongabay-Indonesia

Indonesia: Millions of fish die suddenly in Indonesia’s giant Lake Toba
Cause of death: not yet clear.
By Ayat S. Karokaro, 11th May 2016;

  • Government researchers are analyzing samples from the lake and should have a prognosis soon.
  • Hundreds of local volunteers have set about clearing the water of fish carcasses, which they fear will harm the ecosystem if left to fester for long.
  • The die-off means huge losses for local farmers.

When the sun rose over Indonesia’s giant Lake Toba on Wednesday last week, fish farmers saw that death in the night had visited their floating cages, and taken everything.

By Friday, millions of Carp (Common Carp) (Cyprinus carpio) and Tilapia (Nile Tilapia) (Oreochromis niloticus) had risen lifeless to the surface — ruinous losses for the aquafarmers.

The cause of death is not yet confirmed: government researchers are still analyzing samples from the lake. But early signs point to a precipitous drop in the water’s supply of dissolved oxygen, the suspected result of both natural and manmade causes.

One cage owner said that a week before the die-off began, the fish in their crowded cages appeared increasingly limp, and could be seen gasping to the surface for air.

Now, hundreds of volunteers are using heavy equipment and plastic bags to haul the stinking carcasses onto land. A giant hole has been prepared for their burial.

Lake Toba occupies the vast caldera of an ancient supervolcano whose eruption some 75,000 years ago ranks as one of the most violent events in geological history.

Volcanic activity is not thought to have triggered the fish deaths, though.

Krismono, a professor who works for the government, pointed to unfavorable weather. A lack of sun had shortcircuited oxygen production in the lake’s turbid depths, he said. It was possible that a mass of the depleted water had set off the catastrophe by rising to the top.

Overstuffed cages exacerbated the situation. “Cages should only have 3,000-5,000 fish, but these cages had 10,000 fish,” Krismono said.

Locals had also complained about water pollution, with some blaming aquaculture companies for contaminating the lake with uneaten food pellets and fish waste.

But the cages in Haranggaol, one of North Sumatra province’s biggest fish producing areas, are owned by individual small farmers.

“We can go bankrupt because of this,” said Hasudungan, a local aquafarmer.

Source: Mongabay

Photos: Ahmad Ridwan Nasution on Beritagar

Indonesia: Fish cages blamed for dead fish, environmental damage
By Apriadi Gunawan and Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, 7th May 2016;

Tourists expecting to enjoy the beauty of Lake Toba over the long weekend may be disappointed as the lake has been contaminated by thousands tons of dead fish in the Haranggaol waters, Simalungun, North Sumatra.

In response, 1,000 people of Haranggaol sub-district joined together to remove the carcasses of Goldfish (likely Common Carp) (Cyprinus carpio) and Tilapia (ikan nila) (Nile Tilapia) (Oreochromis niloticus) from the lake on Friday.

Hasudungan Siallagan, a cage-culture fish farmer, said the locals were willing to clean Lake Toba because they wanted to prevent the dead animals from polluting the water, which could affect tourism and make the water unsafe for use by residents.

“Up to 820 tons of dead fish have been lifted from the fish cages in Lake Toba in the past two days. And today, 1,000 tons of dead fish will be lifted out,” Hasudungan told The Jakarta Post in Haranggaol on Friday, adding that 1000 tons of dead fish had been found as of Wednesday.

He added that about 116 cage-culture farmers in Haranggaol had reported that their fish were dead.

“We have been managing fish cages in Lake Toba for decades and this is for the first time we have seen the mass death of fish,” he said.

“All of the fish from two zones are reportedly dead, from a total of six zones of fish cages in Haranggaol. So, there are only four zones left and I haven’t got any news about that,” he said.

Hasudungan said the farmers had suffered billions of rupiah in losses because of the mass death of fish. He also said local government research into the incident had concluded that the cause of the mass death was lack of oxygen.

Head of the Simalungun district Agriculture and Fisheries Agency, Jarinsen Saragih, confirmed that the cause of the mass death of fish in Lake Toba was an oxygen shortage triggered by the postponed fish harvest.

“Lack of solar radiation since April 28 has also aggravated the oxygen shortage,” he told the Post on Friday.

Jarinsen dismissed speculations that the mass death of the fish was because of water pollution in Lake Toba, adding that “the dead fish were only found in the fish cages, not in the lake”.

Meanwhile, the local government of Agam district in West Sumatra plans to decrease half of floating net cages in Maninjau Lake in order to improve the ecosystem.

Head of Agam Maritime and Fisheries Affairs Agency, Ermanto, said that his team had recorded the number of floating net cages and instructed their owners to gradually reduce the amount in the lake.

“The lake water is heavily polluted. There is a lot of sediment from residual feed and tons of dead fish found every year. If left unchecked, fish will not be able to live inside the cages,” Ermanto told the Post recently.

According to the fisheries agency’s records, there are 16,964 fish cage swaths containing 4,000 minnows in the lake area of 99.5 kilometers. A total of 10,765 swaths are made of iron and 6,199 are made of bamboo.

Ermanto said he would regulate that all fish cages must be made of fiber and not iron, which can rust, or bamboo, which can decay.

Currently, there are 5,520 fish cages owned by 146 locals. Each of them own up to 250 cages. The local government plans to limit cage ownership to a maximum 20 fish cages per owner.

Source: Jakarta Post

Photos: Okezone

Indonesia: Hundreds of tons of dead fish clog farmers’ nets in Lake Toba
By Arnold H Sianturi & Ratri M. Siniwi, 4th May 2016;

Fish farmers at Lake Toba in North Sumatra were shocked to find their nets filled with dead fish on Tuesday night (03/05).

The fish farms located at Haranggaol in Simalungun district commonly raise Carp (likely Common Carp) (Cyprinus carpio) and Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Many people living around Lake Toba have taken up fish farming in recent years.

According to local fish farmer Parlaungan, the incident resulted in a total estimated loss of 320 tons of fish, worth billions of rupiah.

This has never happened before. Usually we can count the number of dead fish we remove per day. But this time, all the fishes in the nets were dead,“ Parlaungan said on Tuesday.

Another farmer, Hasudungan, believes the fish died from a lack of oxygen in the water.

"The oxygen content in the cage is only 0.8 [parts per thousand], while the standard is 2. We can go bankrupt because of this,” Hasudungan said.

On Wednesday, Simalungun’s department of fishery and livestock sent a team of experts to Haranggaol to investigate the high number of fish deaths.

Officer Jarinsen Saragih said his team was still unable to determine the reason, but that they suspect that the incident was indeed caused by a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Officers suspect that the high temperatures caused hypoxia in the pond, killing the shrimp and fish.
Photos: Kritsada Mueanhawong

Thailand: One tonne of dead fish found in Phuket park
By Kritsada Mueanhawong, 22nd April 2016;

A large number of fish and shrimp have died in a pond in Suan Luang Park in Phuket Town from either a rise in temperature or polluted water, confirmed officials.

“The local community around the park has complained about the dead fish,” said Phuket City Deputy Mayor Thavorn Jirapattanasophon. “About one tonne of dead fish have been found since Wednesday, including Java Barb (Barbonymus gonionotus), Catfish (Siluriformes), Snakehead (F. Channidae), Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), shrimp and numerous others.”

Mayor Thavorn headed the clean-up project, directing officials to collect water samples from the pond, so the water quality could be tested.

“Our initial tests suggest that the water is safe,” said Mayor Thavorn. “It is most likely that due to the high water temperatures, there is a lack of oxygen in the pond, which is causing this phenomenon.”

Similar incidents have taken place several times in the past.

On March 23, it was reported that Krabi officials had to bury about five tonnes of dead fish that died under similar conditions (story here).

Source: Phuket Gazette

Photo: Aktual

Indonesia: Six tons of fish suffocate in Lake Maninjau
By Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, 21st February 2016;

About six tons of fish cultivated in keramba (net cages) were left floating on the surface of Lake Maninjau on Saturday; they are believed to have died of a lack of oxygen.

Agam regency Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Agency head Ermanto said the fish, weighing on average 4 kilograms each and cultivated in cages in an area adjacent to the villages of Bayur Maninjau and Duo Koto, had died suddenly and en masse on Friday.

“The cage owners were in fact already worried, as there had been no waves on the lake the day before. It’s a dangerous sign, because when the waters are calm, it can cause a lack of oxygen among the fish,” Ermanto said.

Some farmers removed the fish to inland ponds with sources of running water, but others ignored the warning signs, expecting to harvest the fish just two or three days later.

The fish required waves to bring oxygen, Ermanto went on, as the lake contained no oxygen between depths of 5 and 10 meters.

“Farmers have also been warned not to overfeed the surviving fish,” he said.

Mass deaths of fish in the lake have been a regular occurrence for 15 years, with overfarming generally blamed. Earlier in January, storms killed two tons of fish and destroyed many keramba, releasing a further 100 tons of fish. Last year, three separate incidents saw between 5 and 80 tons of fish die.

Currently, Ermanto said, there were 20,000 cages on the lake. A cage of 5 x 5 meters houses 4,000 small fish, and can produce 750 kilograms of fish per harvest. One cage of fish requires a ton of food per month.

“Every day, five or 10 new cages are added. Cage numbers are growing rapidly,” he said.

However, he added, it was not the absolute numbers of cages that was problematic, but their concentration in a certain part of the lake, while other areas remained empty.

“It’s tricky to redistribute the cages. We have to convince the local farmers and the cage owners, who mostly come from outside the area,” he explained.

The owners, who hail from North Sumatra, Riau and Bukittinggi in West Sumatra, hire local workers to man their keramba. However, as none of them hold business permits, the regency administration earns nothing from their business. The local authority’s attempts to curb the business, however, have been met with resistance from local residents.

Separately, fisheries expert Hafrijal Syandri of Bung Hatta University in Padang said the mass fish deaths were mainly down to pollution in the lake water caused by the remains of years’ worth of fish food.

Hafrijal, who frequently studies fish-farming on the lake, said almost 112 tons of food sediment left at the bottom of the lake since the large-scale fish farming began in 2001 had reduced the depth of the lake by an average 16 meters.

“The sediment turns poisonous and kills the fish,” he said.

The number of cages in the lake, he added, should ideally be capped at no more than 6,000.

Source: Jakarta Post