100 tons of fish found dead on Lake Buhi

By Jonathan Magistrado, ABS-CBN Bicol

Posted at Nov 01 2010 11:18 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2010 07:29 AM

MANILA, Philippines - An estimated 100 tons of tilapia were found dead and floating on Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur, a phenomenon known as a fish kill.

The dead fish started floating last Friday, locals said. They said that they did not expect that it would affect many fishpens in the area.

Melchor Ambrosio, a local fishpen owner, was seen on Sunday trying to save some of the fish. He said he was planning to sell them on November 1. 

When he went back on Monday, he found he could no longer sell any since the fish were all dead.

He said he lost about P1 million worth of investment.

Another fisherman, Jorge Lavapie, was found busy removing  the dead fish that were already emitting a foul odor and already in a stage of decay.

A survey conducted by the Lake Buhi Development Office (LBDO) showed that the fish kill has affected 7 lakeside villages. They were identified as barangays Salvacion, Tambo, Ibayugan, Iraya, Ipil, Sta.Cruz And Cabatuan.

The LBDO said that 80% of fish pens in the area were affected.

It said that the fish kill may have been caused by sulfur being ejected into the lake by Mount Malinao and Mount Asog, which also known as Mount Iriga.

Buhi Mayor Rey Lacoste said that strong winds, as well as the abundance of water hyacinths in the lake, could also have contributed to the fish kill.

The price of tilapia in the area has risen to P30-P50 a kilo because of the incident.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Bicol region, meanwhile, is advising fishermen to harvest their fish early.

In 2003, a large fish kill that also hit the area was blamed on sulfur contamination.