Operators’ greed blamed for high mortality of bangus


SUAL–Greed of fish cage operators led to “abnormally high mortality” of bangus (milkfish) raised in this town, the biggest bangus producer nationwide, over the weekend.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 1 Director Nestor Domenden said bangus operators overstocked their produce, from 45,000 pieces allowable only per cage with 18-meter diameter to 85,000 pieces.

Nonetheless, Domenden said only two operators were affected.

But they discovered that those who suffered “abnormally high mortality of bangus in their fish cages doubled the number of their stocks”, he said.

Domenden said it was not fish kill “but a natural thinning” similar to a pig with 18 offspring where not all survive in the process.

According to BFAR’s findings, in addition to the overstocking, there was no movement in the water and was followed by a heavy rain that resulted in the sudden change of water temperature.

“Meron at merong mamamatay kasi di kayang pakainin o padedehin lahat,” he added.

Domenden said while they recommended proper stocking as adopted in the  town’s ordinance “some overstocked”.

He advised the municipal agriculture officer to improve its monitoring of fish cages here to ensure strict compliance by operators, some of whom are foreign nationals.

There are 750 fish cages here but only 30 were affected by this
phenomenon, the first to happen in this town, Domenden said.

While close to 30 metric tons of harvestable sizes of bangus died over the weekend, the operators still managed to salvage and sell 50% of their stock.

Domenden said water sampling done showed low dissolved oxygen level and irregularity in nitrite and ammonia in the water and advised operators not to restock until the water condition normalizes.

He added they should observe quality of feeds and feeding practices.

The mariculture zone in Barangays Baquien and Pangascasan Bay has 750 fish cages owned by businessmen.

Based on statistics, Sual produces 30,000 metric tons of bangus per year, the biggest in the country. (Eva Visperas/Nora Dominguez)

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