Fish kill damage reaches P100-M in South Cotabato

Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2017 12:12 AM

Around 1,383 tons of tilapia have died in the fish kill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

LAKE SEBU- The fish kill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, has already cost fish farmers over P100 million in losses, authorities said Wednesday. 

According to the town’s lake warden, Rudy Muyco, a total of 1,383 tons of tilapia have died in the fish kill since Friday.

Three barangays have declared a state of calamity because of the fill kill. Vice Mayor Floro Gandam said the Sangguniang Bayan will also hold a special session to place the town under a state of calamity.

Fish dealers have warned that there's a looming shortage of tilapia in the area because of the fish kill. 

“Sa ngayon wala pa kaming mapagkunan. Kasi yung kapatid ko doon kumukuha sa taas sa Lake Sebu,” said Irene Joy Juanico, a fish dealer in the town of Surallah.

(Right now, we can't get any supplies. My sibling usually gets supplies from up there in Lake Sebu.)

Juanico said she usually sells more than 20 kilos of tilapia a day. But right now, there is none to sell.

Muyco said they continue to collect dead fish from the lake for disposal. He added that they are now working to minimize the foul smell of decomposing fish in the area, as this could affect tourism in Lake Sebu.

Local officials said they will use calamity funds to buy fingerlings and fish feed, which will be distributed to the affected operators.

They estimate it will take six to eight months before fish farmers recover from losses incurred in the fish kill.