Pangasinan towns close fish pens to heal Kakiputan Channel
2018-06-12 05:16:44

BARGAIN PRICE A tub of medium-sized “bangus” (milkfish) sells for P600 at Dagupan City fish market during a fishkill that hit pens in Anda and Bolinao towns in Pangasinan province. WILLIE LOMIBAO

BOLINAO, Pangasinan — The two towns in Pangasinan province, which lost P110 million due to the fishkill incidents last month, have stopped all fish pen operations to give Kakiputan Channel and other fish culture areas time to heal.

On June 8, Mayor Arnold Celeste of Bolinao town ordered a two-year moratorium on all aquaculture operations at the channel in Barangays Luciente II, Culang and Luna, saying the fishkill was evidence that environmental damage on the waters needed time to be repaired.

Suspension

He also ordered the harvest of remaining stocks not later than Nov. 15.

On May 31, Mayor Aldrin Cerdan of Anda town suspended fish stocking in all pens and cages in the town’s aquaculture zone.

He blamed the overcrowding and overstocking of fish in these cages for the fishkill.

He asked the town council to declare the coastal villages of Siapar, Awag, Mal-ong, Dolawan and Carot under a state of calamity.

Food security

The Anda government said it would lift the suspension once a sustainable mariculture management ordinance was enacted. It also required the dismantling of illegal structures, including fyne nets, locally known as “pasabing.”

A 2014 study showed that sludge in Kakiputan Channel was 3-5 meters high.

But Nestor Domenden, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional director in Ilocos, said scientists and policymakers should agree on actions to be taken regarding Kakiputan Channel “because if the suspensions are long, fish production and security would be affected.” —Yolanda Sotelo

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