PCG monitors fish kill in Cavite

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Philippine Coast Guard (PG) personnel monitors the situation in the vicinity waters off Barangay 61, Cavite City, Cavite after a fish kill is reported on Nov. 13, 2023. (Photo by PCG)

A fish kill in Cavite has been monitored in Cavite as authorities started an investigation to determine the cause of the unusual incident, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

PCG spokesperson Rear Adm. Armando Balilo said an undetermined number of dead fishes in the vicinity waters off Barangay 61, Cavite City was spotted by the Coast Guard Sub-Station (CGSS) Cavite last Nov. 13.

Majority of the dead fishes were classified as tilapia by the CGSS Cavite, with the foul odor emanating from the dead fishes affecting residents living nearby.

The sighting was immediately reported to the Cavite City local government and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for appropriate action.

BFAR personnel conducted an area inspection and water sampling to determine the cause of the incident while the PCG Marine Environmental Protection (MEPCOM) also took water and dead fish samples for laboratory analysis.

Meanwhile, the collected dead fishes were turned over to the garbage collector truck of Cavite City and transported to Material Recovery Facilities for proper disposal.

The PCG National Headquarters directed the CGSS Cavite to continue monitoring and conduct further incident assessment.

Activist fisherfolk group Pamalakaya said the fish kill could be caused by the reclamation activities in Manila Bay or water pollution.

"It's possible kasi hinalukay mo so maaari na lumutang ang mga heavy metal at lason na nakalubog dyan sa matagal nang panahon (It's possible because you dug there so the heavy metals and poisons that have long been submerged may have floated)," Pamalakaya Chairman Fernando Hicap said in a radio interview with DZXL.

Hicap said there were fishermen in Cavite City who were also attributing the fish kill to "alig".

"Ito yung tubig na may lason na paparating sa dagat kaya nagkakaroon ng fish kill. Malinaw na ito'y galing sa pollution, possible dahil sa Cavite lang ay doon lang mismo 'yun tapos ang apektado lang ay mga tilapia lang. Itong tilapia naman ay dito lang sa tabi tabi hindi naman napupunta 'yan sa Manila Bay (This is the water mixed with poison from the sea which caused fish kill. It's clear that this is caused by pollution, possible the affected area is Cavite only and the only affected fish is tilapia. This type of tilapia is found only nearby and it does not go to Manila Bay)," Hicap explained.

"Itong mga tilapia may tolerance kapag mababa ang oxygen, kaya nila magsurvive kaya mayroong kailangan na malalim na pag-aaral kung ano ang dahilan bakit namatay ang mga tilapia. Maaaring mayroon talagang may mataas na lason na nakaapekto sa kanila (These tilapia have high tolerance in low oxygen surface so they can survive that's why there should be an in-depth investigation what caused the death of these tilapia. It's possible there is a potent poison that affected them)," he added.