Press Release
May 31, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for increased government support in utilizing science and technology solutions to help fisherfolk avoid massive fishkills that hit aquatic pens, such as the recent fish kill in Taal lake which killed 800 tons of bangus.

Angara made the statement after a local agricultural officer said that the fish kill was likely caused by the change in water temperature caused by an unusually hot summer which lowered oxygen levels in Taal lake. He added that the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which he chairs, can offer solutions to the fish kill phenomenon.

The Ateneo Innovation Center, a partner of COMSTE, is running a project in Lake Palakpakin in San Pablo, Laguna that showcases practical S&T tools for the aquaculture industry.

The 7 Lake Aquaculture Network project enables fisherfolk to harvest fish before an impending fish kill through adequate monitoring of oxygen levels.

According to project implementers, fish die mainly from lack of oxygen in the lake. The Ateneo team showed that the during a fish kill, life-sustaining oxygen runs only a meter deep.?

Researchers on engineering and environmental science designed a floating field sever than can roam around the lake and measure water clarity, dissolved oxygen, temperature versus depth, and even take videos of fish movement. These data are fed over a wireless sensor network to a data center in the community, giving fisherfolk practical advice on the health of the marine life and lake system.

Fishermen reportedly found that underwater cameras were very useful in ensuring their fish nets were properly containing their catch. The project also uses technology like WiMax and Plug Computers.

Angara said that this ecosystem will be linked to communities in Thailand and Japan in the future, so our Asian neighbors can draw lessons from our own experience.

He said, "Fish kills are particularly devastating to rural communities, majority of which depend on the sea not only for their income, but also their daily food consumption. The recent fish kill in Legazpi City cost P5 million in potential income for the community."

"Our fisherfolk want to make aquaculture, agriculture and ecotourism viable livelihood options for the future. Technologies such as the one demonstrated in Lake Palakpakin will empower them to safeguard and improve their livelihood," Angara stressed.

The Ateneo program is part of a cooperative project sponsored by the Asia Pacific Telecommunity organization of Japan. Partner organizations are the Ateneo de Manila University, COMSTE, Department of Transportation and Communication- Telecommunications Office (DOTC-TELOF), National Electronics and Computer Technology (NECTEC) Thailand, Japan Radio Corporation and NTT Japan.

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