Another fish kill hits Lake Sebu in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Around 7,000 kilograms of tilapia were destroyed as another fish kill hit parts of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato in the last three days.

Lake Sebu deputy fish warden Rudy Muyco said Friday, March 10, the latest fish kill came as the lake’s dissolved oxygen dropped anew to the critical level following the onset of rains in the past several days.

Citing their monitoring, he said the fish kill started last Tuesday in fish cages situated in portions of Barangays Poblacion and Bacdulong.

He said the affected fish cage operators initially reported a total damage of 7,000 kilos as of Thursday afternoon.

“That’s just the initial report that we received. That could still change as our assessment is still ongoing,” he said in a radio interview.

Muyco placed the damage value at P700,000 based on the prevailing market price of P100 per kilo.

This week’s fish kill was the second that occurred at the 354-hectare lake following the massive fish kill in late January that destroyed around P126.5 million worth of tilapia.

Three weeks ago, around P1 million worth of harvestable tilapia and fingerlings were wiped out due to a fish kill blamed on “kamahong,” a phenomenon caused by the sudden rise in the water's temperature.

“Kamahong,” which usually occurs during the rainy season, triggers the rise of sulfuric acid in the lake's waters that eventually caused the massive fish kill.

Muyco said they advised the affected fish cage operators to immediately transfer their remaining tilapia stocks to adjacent fish ponds as the condition of the lake is still considered unstable.

“The situation is really unpredictable and this might later affect the entire Lake Sebu,” he said.

The municipal government earlier placed the entire area under the state of calamity as a result of the massive fish kill last January.

To address the problem, the local government launched a massive cleanup of water hyacinths at the lake.

It also implemented the reduction of fish cages to the 10 percent utilization limit as part of the lake’s rehabilitation. (PNA)


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