The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology-Davao Region (Phivolcs-Davao) is urging the public to rely on scientific information rather than myths, especially concerning calamities and natural phenomena.
This caution follows the appearance of a school of fish, identified as juvenile sardines known as lupoy, on the shore of Barangay Tinoto in Maasim, Sarangani Province on Sunday, January 7, 2024.
A few days later, in the early morning of January 9, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Sarangani Island in Davao Occidental province, with a depth of 76 kilometers. However, available data suggests that there's no destructive tsunami threat stemming from this seismic activity.
On social media, there's been a range of reactions to videos showing the large volume of fish washing ashore in Maasim. Some users speculated that this occurrence might foretell an impending earthquake.
Eduardo Lauron, a research specialist from Phivolcs-Davao, emphasized the importance of relying on scientific facts rather than presumptions. He refuted circulating posts suggesting that the fish phenomenon might be a normal behavior related to animals' sensitivity, asserting that earthquakes are unpredictable.
Lauron explained, “Mga anomalies regarding sa mga isda, pinag-aaralan na. Mga anomalies ra na kay yung mga animals behaviour mga hyper man na sila compared sa mga tao. We have an in-depth study about ani so experts ra gyud maka-sagot ana (We are studying anomalies concerning fish behavior. Animals tend to react hyper-sensitively compared to humans. We have an in-depth study about this, and only experts can provide accurate answers).”
Zenaida A. Dangkalan, the officer-in-charge and provincial fishery officer of Sarangani under the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) in Socckssargen Region, provided three reasons to assess the phenomenon, noting that it was a normal occurrence.
“Tatlong reasons po ang nakikita natin bakit nangyari ito. Una, season kasi ng lupoy ngayon. Next, it may be merong humahabol na malalaking isda and sa shoreline sila napupunta kasi ‘yong mga malalaking isda hindi na kayang pumunta sa mababaw na portion. And pangatlo, naaakit sila sa liwanag galing sa beaches (We see three possible reasons for this event. Firstly, it might be related to the current lupoy season. Secondly, larger fish might have been chasing the school toward the shore as they couldn't access shallow areas. Lastly, they could have been attracted to the lights from beach resorts),” she added. DEF