SOME 20 metric tons of tilapia worth P2.1 million have been lost in a fish kill that hit Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur after Typhoon Quinta pummeled the area on Sunday (Oct.25) night, an official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.
Nonie Enolva, BFAR Bicol spokesperson, said the fish kill was caused by “seiche” triggered by the gustiness spawned at the height of Typhoon Quinta when it made landfall in Camarines Sur on Sunday.
Seiche is a temporary disturbance or oscillation in the water level of a lake or partially enclosed body of water, especially one caused by changes in atmospheric pressure.
Enolva in an interview said affected by the fish kill were fish cages in the villages of Iraya, Ibayugan, Tambo, Cabatoan, Salvacion, and Sta Elena in Buhi town.
She said the water quality test conducted by fishery technician indicated that the lake’s dissolved oxygen was notably low and the ammonia nitrogen level was very high mainly due to the “seiche,” that has triggered the tons of tilapia to drown.
Enolva explained “the apparent low oxygen and the high ammonia nitrogen levels develop gas that is toxic to fish.”
The 1,800 hectares lake in Buhi town supply the fish needs of the four mainland Bicol provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon including the National Capital Region (NCR).
Data from the Buhi Lake Development Office said 70 percent of the lake is occupied by fish cages, which according to BFAR is a violation of a provision of the National Fishery Code that limits to 10 percent the area of the lake that could be used for fish cages.
Enolva citing BFAR data said in 1998, five fish kill incidents happened in Lake Buhi, which was caused by overstocking of tilapia in fish cages that resulted in an estimated loss of P33 million.
The fish kills were caused by bad aquaculture practices such as overcapacity, overstocking and overfeeding, she said.
Records showed that the previous fish kills affected 20,765 fish cages with production losses of at least 100 metric tons of tilapia.
The data said the majority of the town, residents are engaged in fish farming (production and culture) of tilapia.