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Fisheries still unaffected by dry spell, says BFAR exec

/ 05:09 AM April 03, 2019

While most of the sectors in agriculture are reeling from the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon, an official of the agriculture department said the fisheries industry was benefiting from the warmer conditions.

In a phone interview, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Ed Gongona said the climate pattern gave fish species in the wild time to spawn, since fisherfolk were often discouraged to fish when the weather was too hot. This is especially true for species like tuna, skipjack and roundscad.

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“El Niño is favorable for fisheries,” Gongona said. “When the weather is favorable, there are more fishing activities so fish species are not given the time to repopulate.”

However, Gongona said such was not the case for aquaculture, since weather was affecting the quality of feeds that fish species consume.

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Fishing group Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said the effect of El Niño on the sector was still minimal for now, but noted that those who were into aquaculture were seen to be the most vulnerable.

El Niño may trigger red tide bloom in certain water areas, which is the unusual growth of colonies of toxic and nontoxic algae in the water, some of which produce toxins that harm certain types of sea life.

Although red tides may be harmless, it can cause human illnesses that may be debilitating or even fatal.

BFAR has allocated P684 million to mitigate the effects of the climate pattern on the sector. Of the amount, P225 million would be used to increase the natural capacity of lakes, reservoirs and other bodies of water to produce fish.

Some P85 million would be used to stock fingerlings and establish fish sanctuaries; P195 million to promote seaweed farming which could be an alternative livelihood, while P104 million would be used to deploy fish aggregating devices.

Some P10 million will be used to monitor occurrences of red tide while P64 million would be for the commercial fisheries sector.

Data released by the Department of Agriculture on the damage caused by El Niño on the industry had yet to include losses incurred by the fisheries, livestock and poultry sectors.—Karl R. Ocampo

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TAGS: Business, El Niño, fisheries
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