Manila Bay fish free of heavy metals, bacterial contamination, says BFAR

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2018 04:20 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2018 07:41 AM

MANILA - Fish from Manila Bay are free from heavy metals and bacterial contamination as water quality and conditions remain normal, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said Monday. 

But BFAR said they continue to monitor fish and water quality in the bay, particularly in the perimeters of Pampanga, Bulacan, and Cavite where high levels of e-coli bacteria were found in 2014 and 2015.

"We should be watchful, BFAR conducts monitoring. We have enough money but limited manpower," BFAR Senior Aqua Specialist Ulysses Montojo said. 

Montojo said local government units (LGUs) should help by creating proper zoning and buffer zones between residential and aquaform areas to prevent the entry of e-coli, or bacteria from human waste, to waterways that eventually lead to Manila Bay.

Ligaya Cabrera, also a BFAR Senior Aqua Specialist, said LGUs should also make use of fish inspectors.

"Pwede namin siyang i-train para sila na mismo titingin sa market, 'yung hitsura ng isda kung huli ito sa putok o may kulay pula, o si Tulingan kung kulay asul pa, nilalagyan kasi nila ng kulay," Cabrera said.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) also reported normal levels as far as water and fish quality is concerned.

LLDA assured fishermen that they are reducing fish pens and fish cages in the lake to allow more space for fishermen on boats.

"Nirereduce na area for fishpen. Mas malaking area na for fishermen--60% or 5,000 hectres para sa fishermen," said engineer Jocelyn Sta. Ana of LLDA.

From 13,000 hectares of fish cages, Sta Ana said they have reduced it to around 9,000 hectares. 

She added that they have also monitored an increase in fish production in the country's largest lake.