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Buhi mayor stops new tilapia stocks

  • Written by Sonny Sales
  • Published in Provincial
  • Read: 119

BUHI, Camarines Sur -- Big-time tilapia raisers will not be able to recoup their losses after October’s massive fish kill in Lake Buhi after Mayor Margarita Moran Aguinillo issued a memorandum this week, ordering a halt on new tilapia stocks in fish cages and pouring of hundreds of bags of fish feeds into the lake.

Aguinillo issued the ban on renewed tilapia stocks after another fish kill incident was reported in Bgy. Ipil this week.

She also urged the passing of an ordinance in support of the temporary ban in putting new tilapia stocks until oxygen levels at the lake have returned to normal. Earlier, oxygen levels dropped to a lethal 1.25ppm based on BFAR water test, after Typhoon Karen hit the area last month.

Small fish cage operator Susan Constante said small tilapia raisers will obey the LGU’s temporary ban but big-time operators, whose losses have reached millions, were reluctant to follow the LGU ban.

At the local market here, scarce tilapia harvest after the fish kill pushed prices from P25 to P125 per kilo.

A “state of calamity” declared by the local government last Oct. 21 remained enforced with the LGU and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) coordinating to provide intervention programs to ease the losses in the local tilapia industry now reaching P178 million, based on BFAR records.

The local Lake Development Office (LDO) in Buhi town is also beset with clearing the lake of water hyacinth (water lily), which contributed to the dwindling of oxygen levels at the lake.