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

Philippines: Fish kill affects Lake Sebu

By Erwin Colcol, 6th October 2016;

An estimated 200 fish cages have reportedly been affected after a fish kill struck Lake Cebu in South Cotabato, an Unang Balita report said on Thursday.

Authorities said the sudden decrease of oxygen level in the lake, due to the shifting weather and temperature conditions, caused the fish kill.

Caretakers reportedly tried to collect some of the dead fish to make “tuyo” (dried fish).

Fish farm owners called for the local government’s support to help them recover from bankruptcy.

Lake Sebu is a natural lake within the Alah Valley region in the southwestern part of South Cotabato province.

Source: GMA News Online

Philippines: Fish kill affects Lake Sebu

Philippines: P3.9-M Tilapia destroyed in Lake Sebu fish kill

28th June 2016;

Around P3.9 million worth of Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) were destroyed in another major fish kill in lakes Seloton and Sebu in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato.

Justina Navarrete, chief of the South Cotabato Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG), said Tuesday the fish kill occurred in portions of the two critical lakes in the last three weeks, with the onset of almost daily rains in the area.

She said it affected five fish cage operators situated in Sitio Lamsufo in Lake Sebu and one in Lake Seloton.

The fish kill, which is the fourth in Lake Sebu this year, destroyed around 4,000 kilos of Tilapia in Lake Sebu and 320 kilos in Lake Seloton, she said.

“It was mainly caused by the sudden change of the weather in the area,” Navarrete said.

She was referring to “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 that eventually caused the massive fish kill.

Rex Vargas, OPAG’s fishery coordinator, said the phenomenon occurs when cold rainwater, which is heavier than warm water, settles at the abyssal zone of the lake.

“This 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,” he explained.

Vargas said 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.”

In April and May, around 10,800 kilos of Tilapia were destroyed in a series of fish kills blamed on “kamahong” in lakes Sebu and Seloton. The municipal government reported the first fish kill in January.

Source: Sun.Star

Philippines: P3.9-M Tilapia destroyed in Lake Sebu fish kill

Philippines: 70,000 kilos of fishkill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

7th February 2014;

Almost 70,000 kilos of fresh water fish have died in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, officials said on Friday.

Mayor Antonio Fungan of the uptown Lake Sebu said the fishkill was noticed the past week and is continuing.

Fisher folk ringing the famous lake have lost more than half a million pesos worth of Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.).

Fungan said the “calamity” that hit the lake can be considered to have already been contained, but added that the possibility of the fishkill recurring is high unless something concrete is done.

He appealed to fish cage owners to cease from expanding so the Tilapia could have enough room to roam around the lake and prevent shortage of food.

Following the fishkill, Fungan said the municipal agriculture office distributed Tilapia fingerlings to about 52 fish cage operators as assistance, and to prevent a shortage of freshwater fish in the market.

The town executive said fishkill, or locally known as “kamahong,” usually occurs once a year or once every two years.

“This is already alarming. This is the town’s main source of income and the lake is a tourist spot,” Fungan told DXOM-Happy FM in Koronadal City.

Fungan said aside from Tilapia, the major fish variety in Lake Sebu, also killed were smaller fish species locally known as “Ayungin” (Silver Perch) (Leiopotherapon plumbeus).

To prevent a bigger catastrophe, Fungan appealed to fishcage owners to reduce the sizes of their cages and avoid over expansion.

He warned that the local government unit will not hesitate to implement forced dismantling to save the lake and the livelihoods dependent on it.

Source: InterAksyon

Philippines: 70,000 kilos of fishkill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato