Sarangani sending bangus to fish kill areas in Luzon

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 June) – The provincial government of Sarangani is sending some five million bangus or milkfish fry to Pangasinan and Batangas provinces in a bid to help replenish the fish stocks that were ravaged by a massive fish kill in the area since last month.

Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez said Wednesday the bangus stocks would be distributed within the next few days by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to fish pen operators in areas that were heavily affected by the fish kill.

He said the bangus fry, which were sourced from a local hatchery, would be shipped soon to BFAR in Manila via a commercial flight from this city.

“This is some sort of relief for our fish pen operators there as they continue to recover from the impact of the fish kill,” the governor said.

He said the bangus fry were provided for free by Finfish Hatcheries based in Malapatan town in Sarangani and homegrown milkfish producer Alsons Aquaculture Corporation through a partnership with the local government.

The two companies form part of the Alcantara Group’s aquaculture business unit, which is considered the single biggest producer and processor of milkfish in the country.

Sarangani-based Venture, which produces the Sarangani Bay Prime Bangus, currently accounts for about half of the country’s bangus fry requirement.

The governor said the initiative was also supported by Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao, who is vice chair of the House committee on fisheries and aquaculture resources.

Dominguez said they will make sure that the packed fry would be promptly transported to Luzon and arrive in time for their restocking.

He said the donated bangus fry and their freight cost to Manila were estimated at some P3 million.

The bangus stocks are expected to produce some 2.5 million kilos of when eventually harvested, he said.

“We hope that this will help speed up the revival of the milkfish industry in Pangasinan and other affected areas,” Dominguez said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) had placed the damage caused by the fish kill in Pangasinan and Batangas provinces at P190.71 million.

It said the massive fish kill, which was blamed on the overstocking and the congestion of fish pens, had affected 374 fish cages of 23 operators in Batangas and 108 cages of 39 operators in six villages of Pangasinan. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)