DA orders BFAR to conduct water quality tests at Taal Lake
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has been instructed to conduct water quality tests at Taal Lake following the heavy ashfall from the Taal Volcano’s activity, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar gave the instruction to BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona to test if the water was contaminated with sulfur and other toxic materials.
The DA added that the BFAR would also provide reports on the pre- and post-eruption operations in affected areas, “such as, but not limited to, production, fish cage operations, number of fishers or operators, processing/trading/marketing and possible livelihood assistance.”
The phreatic eruption of the Taal Volcano caused the spewing of ash, which consequently fell over the area and other nearby provinces and Metro Manila.
This prompted the Department of Health to caution the public against eating fish coming from Taal Lake and the nearby Batangas province.
Dar also assured that the department is also looking for other sources of tilapia and tawilis that would supply Metro Manila and nearby areas.
“Region 3 can support at least 20 percent of the 15,000-metric ton requirement of Metro Manila per quarter from ponds in Pampanga, Bulacan, and Bataan,” Dar said.
“Another 20 percent will become available upon full utilization of the cages in Pantabangan. I am also encouraging the operators in Taal Lake to consider investing in freshwater and brackish water fishponds in Region 3,” he added.
The BFAR said that Region 3 is capable of supplying tilapia to Metro Manila markets with 10 tons per day at P100 per kilo.
As of the moment, the BFAR added, stakeholders have 300 tons of fresh chilled tilapia in storage ready for delivery.
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