Gloom descends on Pangasinan villages hit by massive fishkill
LINGAYEN, Pangsinan — Villages hosting “bangus” (milkfish) cages and pens in Bolinao and Anda towns look gloomy these days. Instead of caretakers feeding fish stocked in the pens, they are busy removing dead, stinking milkfish and putting these in sacks to be buried somewhere on the mainland or a nearby island.
“Lahat kami tunganga (We were all stunned),’” said a fish pen operator, who lost more than P25 million worth of bangus. His 47 cages (average stock: 40,000 fish each) are in the coastal village of Carot in Anda, where most of the fish were ready to be harvested when the fishkill struck last week.
“Our stocks are wiped out, save for perhaps 100 fingerlings weighing 20 grams each,” said an operator.
He said the fishkill started at Kakiputan Channel that is shared by the two towns on May 27 .
The operators welcomed the suspension of stocking in all fish cages in the two towns. However, if the moratorium would last more than six months, there would be an effect on fish supply not only in Pangasinan but in other provinces and Metro Manila, an operator said.
Pangasinan produces more than 100,000 metric tons of bangus annually, 80 percent of which come from Anda and Bolinao.
A longer moratorium would mean loss of jobs and income for cage caretakers and other workers and those in the processing industry, he said.
Nestor Domenden, Ilocos regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said the moratorium would give the fish and cages a chance to heal naturally.
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