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Philippines - ‘Fish kill,’ crop loss blamed on extreme weather

The intense heat brought about by the weather phenomenon El Niño has killed thousands of fish and destroyed crops in some parts of Cebu Province in the past weeks.

Fishermen associations reported the problem to the office of Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena.

Saragena advised the fishermen and farmers to get insured by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), so they could be compensated for their losses.

This year, the Provincial Government set aside P24 million for agri-fishery insurance, or P13 million less than last year’s P37 million.

The Capitol insured 70,000 farmers and fishermen. There are an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 farmers and fishermen in the province.

Saragena said those who did not avail themselves of the insurance might have been registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture of the PCIC.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office had recommended placing Cebu under a state of calamity. The Provincial Board will tackle this matter during its session on Monday, March 25.

Saragena said 4,900 bangus (milkfish) with an estimated value of P84,000 were found dead in a 5,000-square-meter pond in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City.

“As an effect of El Niño, the water became hot. The fish died because of oxygen loss,” Saragena said.

According to the report of fishery coordinator Simeont Aledon of the Office of the Carcar City Agriculturist, the Camarie Lake Fishermen Association transferred its 15,000 tilapias to a new pond in Barangay Calidngan after the old pond dried up.

Majority of the tilapias, however, still died because they reportedly could not bear the heat.

Fish farms in other barangays in the southern city were also affected.

The Sacsac and Nailong Fish-Farmer’s Association in Calidngan were forced to harvest its 6,000 tilapias from two fish cages and a pond.

In another pond in Barangay Guadalupe, farmers reported the slow growth of 3,000 cultured tilapias. The same case happened to 1,200 tilapias in Barangay Napo.

The seaweed stems and thallus in a two-hectare farm in Barangay Bolinawan also encountered problems.

Aledon also reported deaths of oysters in Barangay Poblacion 3 and tilapias in Barangay Tuyom.

The aquafarms that breed tilapias, danggit (rabbitfish), seaweed, milkfish, gisaw (mullet), buriring (pufferfish) and shrimps in Alcantara were not spared.

Alcantara fishery technician Gina Parela reported to Saragena that the farmers were only able to harvest a kilo of fish per day from the previous three kilos.

The extreme heat and the dry spell have already destroyed 2.3 hectares of rice fields worth P300,000 in Balamban; 20 hectares of cornfields in Tuburan; and 7,000 square meters of eggplants, 5,000 square meters of beans, 5,500 square meters of okras, 2,500 square meters of tomatoes and 2.5 hectares of bananas in Sibonga.

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