Oceana Alarmed by Fish Kill in Bais City
Press Release Date: July 14, 2015
Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila
Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, Vice-President for Oceana Philippines, said that results of the investigation related to the fish kill in the coast of Bais City should be made public.
“Oceana reiterates its call for strong leadership, transparency, accountability, strict monitoring, and effective enforcement of environmental laws to stop the threats of pollution and illegal fishing in TSPS, and to ensure that its resources continue to sustain the livelihoods of the people in the area,” Ramos said.
According to a news article, residents from Bais City complained about the fish kill last June 20, which they said was reportedly caused by the wasterwater discharges from a nearby milling and ethanol plant. The fish kill reportedly affected about 200 fishing families in the coastal barangays of Alangilanan and Tamisu in Bais City.
Local fisherfolk organizations from Bais City filed a complaint to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Negros Oriental, which also prompted government agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the TSPS office, and the local government unit to investigate the matter.
Low levels of oxygen in the water can cause fish kill. But some are due to unnatural causes such as spills or illegal discharges of toxic substances, which is hazardous to marine environment and the health of residents along coastal communities.
Bais City is known for its thriving whales and dolphins tour industry in Tañon Strait, which is the largest marine protected area in the country. Tañon Strait is also a critical marine habitat and a rich fishing ground; home to 14 species of dolphins and whales which half of the 27 species of dolphins and whales in the entire Philippines, and boasts 70 species of fish, 20 species of crustaceans, 26 species of mangroves, and 18,830 hectares of coral reef.
Tañon Strait covers the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Negros Occidental. It is also the site of several agricultural, domestic and industrial industries, the exact number of which still await a full inventory by the TSPS Protected Area Management Board.