(SPOT.ph) "Greed," is how Senate Committee on Agriculture chair Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan described the cause of the fishkill in Taal Lake and Pangasinan, reports ABS-CBN News. Pangilinan told reporters that the fishkill was man-made, caused by overstocking fingerlings in fish cages.
"[As pointed out by an official of the Department of Agriculture], you overstock precisely because you want to harvest more at the expense of the fishes...Now, P200 million is lost. What was gold in the beginning has turned into stone," said the senator in a separate interview with ANC. He was referring to the estimated P190 million worth of fishkill losses.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Department of Environmental and Natural Resources initially pointed the blame at climate change, however, Dr. Gil Jacinto of the UP Marine Science Institute said, "We did not have, over the last few weeks, any significant amount of rain that would have layered on top of Taal waters to be heavy enough to go down." Instead, he explains that Taal Lake "had been over the carrying capacity."
There were 12,000 fish cages in the lake, twice its capacity, reports ABS-CBN News. Moreover, the feeds not consumed by the fish sink to the lake's bottom and become phytoplanktons. Once they grow unabated, they compete with the production of oxygen in the water, straining oxygen levels as the fish multiply.
The Senate suggested dismanting the 1,300 illegal fish cages in the area. They also instructed the BFAR to closely monitor water quality and fish culture practice.
For more on this story, log on to ABS-CBN News.