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BFAR cites need for more aerator pumps in Taal

MANILA, June 24 -– Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will accommodate private sector offers to provide additional aerator pumps for helping fast-track the generation of oxygen in fish kill-affected waters of Taal Lake in Batangas province.

”We welcome such offers,” said BFAR Director Asis Perez.

About 300 pumps are already operating in the affected waters at present, he reported.

He said more pumps are needed as the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in such waters is generally still below the ideal minimum of six parts per million (ppm).

Earlier, BFAR linked Taal’s latest fish kill to oxygen depletion from natural upwelling and unsound aquaculture practices so DA committed providing 50 of its aerator pumps to help increase oxygen level in the affected waters.

BFAR’s monitoring as of 5 p.m. on June 23 show below-ideal DO levels in waters off Talisay municipality’s Barangay Sampaloc (4.93 ppm), Laurel municipality (1.73 ppm to 2.73 ppm) and Agoncillo municipality’s Banaga, Belibinwag and Maralao villages (1.64 ppm to 4.32 ppm).

DO level in waters off Talisay’s Aya, Quiling and Tumaway villages ranged from 5.73 ppm to 6.68 ppm during the same reference period, BFAR noted.

On June 22, BFAR reported monitoring a 2.77 ppm DO level in waters off San Nicolas municipality’s Poblacion and Alas-as villages.

Given such findings, BFAR continues advising fisherfolk concerned to either move their fish cages to waters where DO level is sufficient for fishes’ survival or harvest their stocks and immediately deliver these to government-run cold storage facilities for refrigeration before marketing the produce.

”We’ll shoulder all fees for storing such stocks,” reassured Perez.

He observed, however, that response to such offer isn't as enthusiastic as expected possibly due to prevailing fear among consumers to buy fish.

To help the affected fisherfolk, Perez earlier said BFAR plans distributing to them two million 'bangus' fingerlings and another two million 'tilapia' fingerlings.

Saranggani province-based private group Alsons Aquaculture Corp. and its Finfish Hatcheries Inc. also turned over to DA and BFAR this week part of the six million 'bangus' fry donation for fisherfolk concerned.

The plan is for fry that was turned over to be stocked and grown in BFAR's nursery in Quezon province while DO in Taal's fish kill-affected waters isn't yet suitable for fish culture.

To avoid wasting fingerlings, BFAR already ruled out dispersing these unless DO in such waters improves to the ideal minimum level.

"Water condition there isn't stable yet so we can't disperse fingerlings yet," Perez said. (PNA)

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