BANGUS (MILKFISH)

The scorching summer sun is taking its toll even on bangus or milkfish, which are suffering from heatstroke and gasping for air because of the critically low level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in their water habitat.

Bolinao, a major producer of milkfish, and the neighboring town of Anda stand to lose millions unless immediate steps are taken to avert the possible fishkill, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) warned yesterday.

“We advise bangus raisers in this area to harvest early to minimize their losses,” said Dr. Westly Rosario, BFAR center chief based in Dagupan City.

As of noontime yesterday, the field personnel of the BFAR monitored the DO level at one part per million (ppm), way below the standard four ppm, Rosario told The STAR.

Because of this, bangus raised in cages and fishpens along the Cacquiputan Channel, from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute up to the Anda Bridge in Anda town, had started to gasp for air and may die anytime, he said.

Bangus raising here is a multi-million peso industry and this town is the biggest producer of milkfish in the country, said Rosario, who is also the interim executive director of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute.

Rosario said they immediately conducted the tests and monitored the dangerously low DO levels through ann oxygen meter instrument and via laboratory tests after receiving information about abnormal behavior of the suffering bangus.

“It’s really critical and the best solution is early harvest,” Rosario stressed.

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