Fishkill looms over Taal Lake

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BATANGAS: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources issued on Tuesday a warning to fishermen of Taal Lake to immediately harvest their fish stocks.

BFAR Region 4A Assistant Regional Director Leah Villanueva said the level of dissolved oxygen in some parts of Taal Lake has reached its critical level.

“Critical at this time after long hot months, the rainy season sets in and this triggers an overturn that decreases the level of dissolved oxygen,” Villanueva said.

Fisherfolk affected are those with fish cages in the towns of San Nicolas, Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas province.

BFAR records show that fish-kills usually occur during the rainy season when hydrogen sulfide levels rise resulting in toxic gas emissions and a depletion of oxygen in the waters.

While mortalities observed as of now are minimal, Villanueva said there is a big possibility this may result to a fish kill.

“The possibility is huge although Taal fisherfolk are so used to this, but it’s unpredictable these days because of uncontrollable changes in the environment,” she said.

BFAR advisory recorded the level of dissolved oxygen at 3.2-4.7ppm (parts per million), below the desirable level of 5ppm.

Villanueva said they are using water pumps and aerators earlier provided by the Department of Agriculture to improve the water condition in Taal.

“We also sent a technical team to monitor the situation and conduct regular advisory to keep our stakeholders informed of the situation” Villanueva reported.

The most recent massive fish kill in Taal was in 2011 where over 2,000 tons of aquatic produce worth over P100 million were lost.

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