Don't eat fish from Taal Lake, DOH says

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2020 02:58 PM

MANILA - The Department of Health warned the public Tuesday against eating fish from the Taal Lake as sulfur from the rumbling volcano could affect marine life there.

People who eat fish from the lake could experience stomach pains and vomiting, Health Assistant Secretary Marie Laxamana said as she urged the public to refrain from buying fish in the Batangas province for the meantime.

“Definitely, meron po tayong mga advisory na lahat ng nanggagaling diyan sa area ng Taal at Batangas, dapat po talaga, wala nang bibili kasi hindi po natin maaasahan yung safety ng ating mga mamamayan,” she told reporters in Malacañang.

(We have advisories calling on the public to refrain from buying fish from Taal and Batangas because we can’t assure its safety.)

Freshwater fish such as tilapia and tawilis could be affected by the sulfur brought about by the eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

Ash and rocks from the volcano that fall into the lake could also cause kill the marine life there, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said.

“Siguro sa dami ng bato at abo na ibabato doon sa lake, mas solid yung effect. Lalo na yung sa mga fish cages kasi pwedeng ma-suffocate sila,” he said.

(The effect is worsened by the rocks and ash thrown into the lake. The fish cages might get suffocated.)

Laxamana said persons who experience stomach pains after consuming fish from Taal Lake should immediately rehydrate and consult a doctor.

Tawilis, a form of freshwater sardine, is an endangered fish species that can only be found in the Philippines.

Thousands living near the volcano have fled the towns surrounding the Taal Volcano as Phivolcs warned of a "highly explosive volcanic eruption" that could happen in "hours to days."