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BFAR lifts fishing ban in 6 Or. Mindoro towns

May 9, 2023 Cory Martinez 154 views

THE fishing ban in seven municipalities in Oriental Mindoro has been lifted since the fishing waters in said areas were found to be within “acceptable standards” for fishing activities.

In its Oriental Mindoro Oil Spill Bulletin no. 04, Series of 2023, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the fishing ban was lifted in Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao, Puerto Galera, Baco, and San Teodoro municipalities.

A fishing ban in these municipalities was implemented following the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress last March.

Based on the result of the water samples collected on April 17 from the said municipalities, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were no longer detected in most of the fish samples (demersal/shellfish/crabs and pelagic) collected except for pelagic (marine) fish samples.

The BFAR explained that the pelagic fish samples still contained minimal levels of less toxic PAHs, but the most toxic ones were no longer detected. Generally, the recent analyses showed lower PAH levels than the previous test results.

Meanwhile, the BFAR said that the fishing ban in six other municipalities, Calapan, Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Gloria, and Bansud, will remain due to the risk of contamination from traces of oil that have yet to be removed from the area.

The BFAR, however, assured that it will continue monitoring oil spill-hit areas for a time-series observation, which will be the basis of its recommendations for concerned government agencies and local government offices.

The BFAR also disclosed that to help municipal fisherfolk affected by the imposition of fishing bans, it has recommended alternative fishing grounds in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

These are the municipal waters of Paluan, Abra de Ilog, San Jose, and Magsaysay in Occidental Mindoro; Boac and Gasan in Marinduque; and Concepcion in Romblon. Subsequently, the DA-BFAR will provide them with fuel subsidies as additional assistance.

Moreover, the BFAR has provided over P117.86 million worth of emergency and relief assistance, early recovery efforts, and mid-to-long-term recovery aid to oil spill-hit areas.

Of these, P4.4 million was already spent for post-harvest training for various fisherfolk associations and cooperatives, and over P1.5 million was utilized for food assistance to more than 5,000 affected fisherfolk in MIMAROPA.

Millions-worth of funds was also allocated for the ongoing grant and capacity-building efforts of fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats with marine engines to affected fisherfolk in Oriental Mindoro. In addition, BFAR has deployed monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) vessels, as well as PPE sets and other materials for clean-up activities.

Supplementary interventions were already planned, including the grant of additional FRP boats, fish aggregating devices, aquaculture feed mill projects, bangus fry, tilapia fingerlings, and fish cages to areas affected by the oil spill.