Red tide kills kitong, bangus in fish cages in Region 10

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 10 April) – Red tide that was first spotted in Iligan City last month has spread throughout the coastal areas in Region 10 and has slaughtered hundreds of kitong fish in cages in Kauswagan town in Lanao del Norte, officials said Wednesday.

The toxins of the red tide algae also killed hundreds of bangus fish in some cages in the Mariculture Park in Balingasag town in Misamis Oriental, according to Angelilah Talle Cabig, spokesperson of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources(BFAR) in Region 10.

“The red tide is spreading but the good thing is it is only in patches and not the entire coastline. We can see the seawater in the affected areas turn red or brown,” Cabig said.

As of Wednesday, Cabig said patches of algae, also known as phytoplankton, have been spotted in fish cages in Bacolod town in Lanao del Norte and in the towns of Baliangiao, Sapang Dalaga, and Lopez Jaena in nearby Misamis Occidental.

Cabig said BFAR Region 10 has deployed technicians to the affected areas in cooperation with PNP Maritime who provide speed boats to bring the teams to the affected areas.

“Kitong production in Kauswagan is badly affected but the patches have been seen in other towns also,” she said.

Cabig said BFAR first spotted the patches of algae in the coast along Barangay Santa Filomena in Iligan city last March 26.

A week later, Cabig said technicians at the Naawan campus of the Mindanao State University in Misamis Oriental reported some red patches in their coast lines and later laboratory tests confirmed that it was phytoplankton, single cell, plant-like organisms that form red or brown patches in the sea surface.

“We suspect that the high concentrations of algae was formed during the brief dry spell before the arrival of tropical depression ‘Domeng’,” Cabig said.

He said the red tide , however, spared the coast lines of Cagayan de Oro City , thanks to the city’s seven rivers which supplies fresh waters to Macajalar Bay.

Dr. Hector San Juan, Cagayan de Oro agriculture officer, cautioned residents from eating dead fish taken from the affected waters.