Fishers demand in-depth probe in massive fish, shellfish kills in Manila Bay
Manila, Philippines – “The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) should conduct an in-depth investigation on the cause of massive fish kill that hit the south side of Manila Bay and affects the livelihood of fisherfolk. We strongly suspect that this was due to ecological pollution, and whoever is responsible should be held accountable,” According to the national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA).
Tubs of various fish – including sapsap, salaysalay, and salinyasi – were recovered dead at Las Pinas and Paranaque last week. Aside from fish, shellfish species in the two towns are also affected by the fish kill.
The latest incident triggered the group to question the Duterte government’s ongoing rehabilitation drive which tasked various government agencies to restore the Manila Bay, in accordance to the 2008 Supreme Court Mandamus.
“Given the context of the ongoing rehab, it casts a clout of doubt on the sincerity and the effectivity of the rehabilitation that the government is pursuing when extreme ecological disturbance such as fish kill has been taking place. Parang paurong ang epekto ng rehabilitasyon sa pangunguna ni environment secretary Roy Cimatu,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, PAMALAKAYA’s municipal chapter Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat sa Bacoor Bay debunks BFAR’s initial claim that the fish kill was because of dynamite fishing, as it should not have affected shellfish like mussels and oysters.
“Hindi kayang pumatay ng ganung karaming isda ang simpleng dynamite fishing, pero higit sa lahat, hindi nito kayang patayin ang mga tahong at talaba. Kalokohan ang pahayag na iyon ng BFAR, gusto na naman nilang isisi sa mga magdaragat ang dahilan ng fish kill habang nakakalusot ang mga naglalakihang pabrikang walang pakundangan kung magtapon ng kanilang dumi at kemikal sa dagat,” Myrna Candinato, President of Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat sa Bacoor Bay said in a statement.
Candinato owns a small mussel farm in Bacoor, and said her group would closely monitor if the fish kill reaches Bacoor City, Cavite.
Lastly, PAMALAKAYA demanded the BFAR and local executive units in Las Pinas and Paranaque to immediately disperse aid and livelihood support to the fisherfolks who are affected by the fish kill.
“Without delay, BFAR should address the economic effect of this fish kill especially to the fisherfolk and coastal people by providing livelihood relief and assistance,” ended Hicap. ###