May 24, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

BFAR: Retain fishing ban in oil spill-affected areas

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Tuesday recommended the continuous suspension of fishing activity in some oil spill-affected areas in Oriental Mindoro, alongside the sustenance of aid to fishers.

In a statement, the BFAR said it has conducted initial water and fish sample tests in Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Bansud, Gloria, Roxas, Mansalay, Bongabong and Bulalacao.

“The DA (Department of Agriculture)-BFAR recommends the continuous suspension of fishing activities in the aforementioned areas in Oriental Mindoro for public safety. The Bureau advises LGUs (local government units) concerned to heed this science-based recommendation,” it said.

The BFAR’s initial sampling showed there are oil and grease in water samples.

“Preliminary findings showed that traces of petroleum products, particularly oil, and grease, were detected in water samples —equivalent to <5 mg/L. The figure is within the standard of 3 mg/L to 5 mg/L set by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources in Administrative Order 2016-08,” it said.

“The DA-BFAR likewise found low-level contaminants or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the fish samples. PAH, which is harmful to humans and other living organisms, may accumulate in the flesh of fish over time,” it added.

The level is based on the gathered samples from March 3 to 14.

Amid the halt of fishing activities, the BFAR assured continuous aid to around 19,000 affected fishers.

“The DA-BFAR has already allocated an initial budget of P6.4 million for livelihood and relief assistance to aid fisherfolk and their families cope with the loss of income due to fishing bans,” it said.

Besides the distribution of food packs, a budget for the rehabilitation programs is also being prepared.

“Rest assured that the DA-BFAR has been working with concerned national government agencies and LGUs to ensure public safety and address the concerns of over 19,000 affected fisherfolk,” it added.

The DA-BFAR earlier turned over 10,000 canned goods, 5,000 noodles and a thousand 25-kg sacks of rice to the regional office of Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) intended to benefit around 5,000 families.

However, the BFAR said it shall still determine the status of food safety of the sea foods considering the initial data is “not yet conclusive.”

This, as the BFAR shall continue to evaluate the situation, especially now that the oil spill reached other bodies of water in nearby provinces.

To date, fishing activities in Caluya, Antique are also halted following the spread of the oil spill.

On Feb. 28, the MT Princess Empress sank off the coast of Naujan town, which caused the leakage of oil to the waters of Oriental Mindoro and to its nearby provinces. (PNA)