BFAR: Fish population is simply rising

BFAR: Fish population is simply rising
File photo

AMID concerns sparked by the beaching of thousands of fish along the shores of two towns in southern Cebu, a fisheries official has assured the public the events should not be taken as a precursor to an earthquake or an impending tsunami.

“It should be treated as a positive result. Let us not associate it with any geological or weather phenomenon,” Johann Tejada, spokesman of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) 7 told SunStar Cebu on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

The unusual phenomenon, which has caught the attention of locals and netizens after thousands of fish swarmed the shores of Ginatilan town and dozens of baby sharks visited shallow waters in Santander last week, prompted speculation about a potential seismic activity.

Tejada explained that fish stranding is a natural occurrence influenced by various environmental factors, including the growth of fish populations.

It does not necessarily indicate seismic disturbances, he said.

A Superbalita report last Feb. 18 said residents of Barangay Poblacion in Ginatilan, southwest Cebu witnessed an unusual scenario where schools of fish were seen swarming the shores on the night of Feb. 11.

The phenomenon happened again on Feb. 14, prompting residents, even those from mountain areas, to go to the sea bringing with them containers to catch some fish.

“If sea animals start migrating away from the water, it could be a sign of an impending tsunami or natural disaster. Instead of feeling happy, prepare food and safety measures. If you live near the coast, consider moving to higher ground,” a Facebook user commented on the SunStar post in Cebuano.

Meanwhile, last Feb. 13, several baby sharks were seen swimming along the coastline of Barangay Pasil, Santander town in the southmost part of Cebu province.

Tejada attributed the phenomenon to the growing fish population in the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, stretching between western and eastern Cebu, owing to its protected status.

Covering 5,182 square kilometers, commercial fishing is banned in the strait which has been safeguarded under Presidential Proclamation 1234 since 1998.

He added that the rise in fish population is also a result of the three-month fishing ban in the Visayan Sea imposed by the Bfar 7 from Nov. 15, 2023 to Feb. 15, 2024 after the bureau noted a decreasing supply of fish in the region.

“It contributed to the replenishment of the fish,” Tejada said.

Last year, Bfar 7 issued Fisheries Administrative Order 167-3, prohibiting the catching, killing, selling, or possessing sexually mature sardines, herrings, mackerels, or their larvae, fry, or young, locally known as “lupoy,” “silinyasi,” “linatsay,” or “manansi,” in a portion of the Visayan Sea and adjacent waters.

Tejada said the schools of fish seen along the shoreline were stranded in shallow waters because they were disoriented while pursuing food and not because of an incoming tsunami which has not been proven.

While he did not discount that animals have a way of detecting disturbances, Tejada said the Bfar does not dwell on such thoughts.

Applying the principle of the food chain, Tejada further explained that the population of smaller fish grew, which consequently attracted larger fish to prey on them. This also accounts for the presence of the bigger fish, he said.

“Let us refrain from thinking about that. If there are a lot of fish, we should be happy,” he said.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.