Sual fish cages have no ECCs
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—All of the fish cages that have sprouted near a coal-fired power plant in the Cabalitian Bay in Sual town do not have environmental compliance certificates (ECCs).
Joel Salvador, regional director of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), on Friday said his office had issued ECCs for the operation only of a 10-hectare mariculture zone and for a fish hatchery on the bay.
“We consider all other projects or fish cage operations that are not covered by ECCs in that area in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1586 or the Philippine environmental impact statement law,” Salvador said at a dialogue here between officials of Sual and national government agencies and Team Energy, the operator of the coal-fired plant.
The dialogue was led by the provincial government to address an August letter by Ruben Licerio, Team Energy vice president for operations, to Sual Mayor Roberto Arcinue, which expressed concern about the proliferation of cages near the southern periphery of the plant.
Licerio said the proximity of the cages to the plant posed a serious threat to “the safe and reliable operation” of the 1,200-megawatt power plant, which supplies about 30 percent of electricity distributed by the Luzon grid.
Arcinue scolded Licerio during the dialogue, accusing him of destroying the booming fish cage industry in his town by labeling the cages as threats. He said he did not believe that the cages would hamper the plant’s security.
Nestor Domenden, regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said the number of cages on the bay had increased from about 400 in May to 778 in July.
“All cages were built outside the mariculture zone, which can accommodate only 50 cages,” Domenden said in an earlier interview.
Under the law, a project that had no ECC may be issued a cease-and-desist order, Salvador said.
“But we are not that cruel. We know that people’s livelihood is involved here. We will start the due process for that matter in order that this can be resolved in a better way,” he said.
The operators who built the cages without securing ECCs will be fined P50,000 each, Salvador said.
Arcinue said about 2,000 people were employed by the cage operators.