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Petron oil spill blamed for drop in fish catch

October 25, 2006

By DAVID ISRAEL SINAY
Panay News, Oct. 25, 2006

ILOILO City – The oil spill caused by the sinking of Petron Corp.’s chartered vessel, M/T Solar 1 caused a drop in fish catch in affected coastal barangays, fishery experts said during yesterday’s 1st Western Visayas Bangus Congress.

The oil spill also drove away fishes from spawning in the coastal areas of Arevalo District in Iloilo City all the way to the shores of Antique Province – considered as the “fry ground” of Western Visayas.

“Inevitably, the planktons and fish eggs, among others will be affected. Eventually, it will impair the marine ecosystem,” Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Drusila Esther Ong told Panay News.

Fishes have the tendency to “look for better breeding ground” or “other areas for habitat,” added Ong.

“If the places in their life stages are affected, they are also affected,” Ong disclosed. “Mangroves are their hatchery ground. Mangroves were disrupted. Their trunks were covered (with bunker fuel).”

Meanwhile, Ong said most pond operators still prefer traditional fish production. Most preferred for this, Ong said, is the wild milkfish because of its longer survival characteristic compared to hatchery-bred fingerlings.

Furthermore, Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Director Diosdado Cadena revealed that the oil spill has affected the survival rate of the fingerlings, hurting pond operators of wild milkfish.

“Fingerlings, initially, is a very technical input for fish producers. The disaster caused an incremental increase on the prices of the (wild milkfish) fingerlings. Cost of production is affected,” Cadena disclosed.

He said that fish producers have the tendency to adjust rather than just deal with the prices in the market.

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