Massive fishkill breaks out anew in Western Pangasinan

BOLINAO, Pangasinan — Millions of pesos worth of milkfish 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 breath, 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. Leonardo Micua/PNA/