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Oil spills reduce fish production–GMA News research

September 1, 2006

GIS: OIL SPILLS AND FISH PRODUCTION

Findings:

– Marine experts say oil spill is one of the indirect causes of decreased fish production
– Three areas with decreased fish production—Metro Manila, Negros Occidental and Davao City–figured in oil spills. (with map)
– The Philippines’ top fishery areas had been threatened by oil spills in the last few years. (with map)

According to the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, oil spill is one of the indirect causes of decreased fish production . Oil slicks prevent free exchange of oxygen from air and water. Oil slicks prevent sunlight from reaching deeper levels of water where coral thrive, thus limiting food production of plants (photosynthesis).

Bunker oil is made up of pollutive compounds like sulfur compounds, nitrogenous compounds and other heavy metals. Presence of these compounds disturb the natural ecosystem of coral reefs and mangroves. Once this harmonious relationship is disturbed, less planktons and fishes stay in the area.

Oil slick covers the gills and scales of fish, making it hard for them to breathe and swim. This drives the fishes away or ultimately kills the fishes.

As a result, fishes will tend to avoid the polluted areas.

The total volume of fishery production increased by an average of 7.24 percent from 2003 to 2005.

However, a closer look at data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics shows that 16 areas have a decreasing trend in the harvest of sea products.

(For the full details, click research.)

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