Hundreds of fisher folk in the coastal barangays of Manjuyod and Bais City in Negros Oriental are asking the government to investigate the reported fish kill over the weekend, that has greatly affected their source of livelihood.
In their letter-complaint addressed to Aniceto Aquino, Community Environment and Natural Resources officer based in Tiguib, Ayungon, the Alangilanan United Fisherfolks Association, headed by Segundo Kadusale, and the Alangilanan Small Fisherfolks Association, led by George Llanera, claimed that their daily fish catch had been severely reduced due to the liquid waste allegedly from milling plant Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corporation (URSUMCO) and the ethanol plant.
The complainants claimed that most of the seaweeds' culture operators in the area have stopped operating because of the fish kill.
Former Manjuyod mayor Jose Petit Baldado, who is now a crab culture operator, was told by affected residents that crab offspring is not available because of the fish kill as a result of the liquid waste being drained to the sea, allegedly coming from the ethanol plant.
There are about 100 to 200 fishing families who are affected in the Alangilanan and Tamisu coastal waters due to the water pollution. The fish kill in Bais was observed June 20, according to the fisher folks.
Species affected are mostly those demersal or living near the coastal areas.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Dumaguete City requested its regional office to conduct onsite water sampling in line with the pollution complaint.
BFAR provincial fishery officer, Florencia Mepana, sent an email to BFAR regional director, Andres Bojos, for the conduct of onsite water sampling, adding that time is an important element, in case of ethanol. She said it will take an ethanol to evaporate before the water sample arrives in Cebu which is about six hours travel time, thus rendering the water sample undesirable.
Mepana also advised the complainants to take samples of dead fishes for laboratory examination, since the samples brought to her office yesterday were taken Saturday.
The Silliman University Marine Laboratory is also conducting its own water sampling analysis, after conducting an ocular inspection of the affected areas, to include barangays Dunggoan, Alangilanan, and Batugan in Manjuyod.
Initial investigations show a fishpond operator in Bais City complained to Mayor Mercy Teves Goni about the fish kill, prompting her to order City Agriculturist Ariston Cardano to validate the report and take necessary actions.*JG
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