BFAR finds low-level contaminants from fish samples from oil spill-affected areas

At a glance


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are low-level contaminants, were discovered in fish samples from the oil spill-affected areas of Oriental Mindoro, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) bared on Tuesday, March 21.

In a statement, the bureau stated that it collected fish samples from the municipalities of Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Bansud, Gloria, Roxas, Mansalay, Bongabong, and Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro in order to determine whether seafood is safe for public consumption and whether fishing bans should be imposed or lifted by the respective local government units (LGUs).

“PAH, which is harmful to humans and other living organisms, may accumulate in the flesh of fish over time,” it said.

However, the BFAR noted that the “results of the analyses are not yet conclusive as far as food safety is concerned.”

“Further sampling and analyses are being conducted to establish time-series results on the effect of the oil spill on fish concerning food safety, taking into account the magnitude of the oil spill which has reached neighboring areas like Caluya, Antique and some municipalities of Palawan,” it continued.

The BFAR vowed to regularly examine water and fish samples in impacted areas to track any potential contamination spread and assess the degree of the oil spill's harm to the fisheries sector.

For the time being, the bureau advises that fishing operations in the aforementioned locations in Oriental Mindoro be permanently suspended for the sake of public safety.

To help fishermen and their families cope with the loss of income brought on by fishing bans, BFAR has already set aside an initial budget of P6.4 million for livelihood and humanitarian support.

The sum includes the P1.5 million worth of food packages donated by the BFAR through its regional office in MIMAROPA, which helped 5,000 people in Oriental Mindoro affected by the oil leak.

In a “Laging Handa” briefing on Monday, March 20,  BFAR Spokesperson Nazario Briguera said the country’s fisheries sector is losing P5 million a day as the impact of the Oriental Mindoro oil spill continues to take its toll.

Around 19,000 fishermen, among others, continue to suffer from the fishing ban that is currently imposed in oil spill-affected areas, he said.