‘Prevent repeat of Ilog fish kills, fishermen still badly affected’

Residents gathering the dead fish in Sitio Malabong, Barangay 2, Ilog, on July 1.*Nicanor Lopez video screengrab 

A barangay captain is calling on authorities to take action to prevent the recurrence of recent fish kills that caused the death of fish, shrimps, seashells and crabs in the Ilog-Hilabangan River.

The fish kills have deprived about 50 fisherfolk from Sitio Malabong, Barangay 2, Ilog, of their livelihoods. Until now they are still suffering because there are no more fish to catch, Barangay 2 Captain Nicanor Lopez said on Wednesday, July 10. 

The first fish kills happened on June 9 and July 1. 

He said about 500 kilos of dead and dying fish, shrimps and crabs were seen floating in the water fronting his barangay on June 9 and about 150 kilos on July 1. 

Those that were barely alive had difficulty breathing, he said. 

Lopez said he took a sample of the water from the river to the Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative laboratory on June 12 and the test results showed that it had high chlorine content. 

Lopez said he is calling on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Municipal Agriculturist Office to determine the source of such incidents to prevent a recurrence. 

He already submitted incident reports on the fish kills, Lopez said. 

He said when the fish kills occurred residents said they saw a sudden rush of murky flood water. 

Lopez hopes the authorities can determine where it came from and who poured chlorine into the water. 

Fishermen are complaining that there are still no fish, crabs and shrimps to catch because of the fish kills, Lopez said. 

Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Wilfredo Canto said   the fish kills were reported days after they occurred so water sampling tests could not be accurate for determining its cause. 

Canto said when they traced the affected river system they found that it was not connected to a nearby sugar mill alleged to be the source of the discharge that caused the fish kill. So the polluted water did not come from the mill, he said.

Previously chlorine was used in the cleaning of a fishpond that could possibly have been the cause, Canto said. 

He said action versus fish kills falls under the responsibility of the BFAR.* 

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