Press Release
May 31, 2011

Legarda Seeks Real Cause of Massive Fishkill in Taal Lake

Senator Loren Legarda has sought for an investigation by the Senate on the reason behind the recent massive fishkill in Taal Lake.

Legarda filed Senate Resolution 498 to direct the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food, Environment and Natural Resources, and Climate Change to immediately conduct an inquiry on the matter as over 700 metric tons of milkfish and tilapia, worth approximately Php57.226-million, have been killed in the different fish cages surrounding Taal Lake since May 26.

"Both consumers and our fishermen are affected by this occurrence. The fishkill reportedly affected as much as 27% of the fish supply of Metro Manila and will certainly affect majority of the fisherfolk from the lakeside communities of Taal who depend primarily on fishing for their subsistence," she explained.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) the fishkill was caused by an overturn wherein moderate to heavy rains made the surface water of Taal Lake cold and dense, which in turn forced the deep hot bottom water containing pollutants to rise, heating the fish cages thereby depriving the fish of dissolved oxygen.

The BFAR also said that the recent fishkill in the Kakiputan Channel in Bolinao and Anda towns in Pangasinan was also caused by these changes in temperature.

"The sudden drop in temperature and the heavy rains, which led to the overturn may have been caused by the extreme shift of weather brought about by climate change. However, there have been reports to BFAR that the run-off from the Baleter River leading to Taal Lake was discolored and contained animal waste," the Senator said.

"We have to determine the various and interrelated causes of this disastrous fishkill in order to protect our ecosystem, the livelihood of the communities surrounding these bodies of water, as well as the consumers who may be affected by the same," Legarda concluded.

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