DAGUPAN CITY -- In a decade's time, three fish kill incidents occurred at the Caquipotan Channel, the straight separating Anda and Bolina towns, in Western Pangasinan.

Overstocking at fishpens and fishcages is pointed out as reason for these incidents.

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Sometime in 2001, about P400-million worth of bangus (milkfish) died in the worst fish kill incident that had hit the province of Pangasinan.

Another fish kill incident happened at the said area sometime in 2007, fishpen/fishcage operators losing about P100-million worth of bangus.

Last week of July 2010, about P50 million worth of bangus was lost to another fish kill.

At the KBP Forum held at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office recently, Regino Regpala of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC) explained that fishponds, pens or cages have their “carrying capacity.” That going beyond the ideal capacity would have an impact on the environment.

He further said that despite efforts to regulate the fishery industry, not only are the fish pens and cages are overcrowded but also the river tributaries and coastal areas.

Regpala explained that neap tide, during which tidal fluctuation is very minimal, contributed to the recent fish kill.

“Halos di gumagalaw ang tubig at di napapalitan yong tubig sa channel ng tubig galing sa dagat. Dapat maganda ang flushing rate para mapanatili yong normal na dissolved oxygen,” he stated.

“Dahil sa overfeeding, nagse-settle lang sa ilalim yong feeds at nagiging toxic,” he added.

After the recent fish kill, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) sent personnel at the affected area to conduct water testing.

Accordingly, it was found out that the dissolved oxygen (DO) in the affected area was 1.7 parts per million (ppm). The normal DO should be 5.0 ppm.

Regpala said BFAR has recommended reduction of fish paraphernalia at the channel and in other areas of the Lingayen Gulf like in Cabalitian in Sual town and in the towns of Rosario and Sto. Tomas in La Union. (LCMY/Sunnex)