Davao moves fish cages to safer waters

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) – High coliform content, like e. coli, in the sea water at Punta Dumalag has driven the City Agriculturist’s Office to relocate fish cages operating in the area to a more suitable location in the barangay.

In an interview, City Agriculturist Rocelio Tabay said Monday that a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources study tested the fish cage areas and found out that the location had levels of coliform that were “beyond the acceptable.”

“The problem with the operators there is that they are too near the shore,” he said.

Tabay said around 192 fish cage operators will be accommodated in a 12-hectare area that the city has identified.

The official said it would cost each operator around P100,000 to construct the fish cages.

He added that the city is still in the preliminary stages of determining the cost of the relocation, as well as when this will be implemented.

The good thing, Tabay said, was that this would allow fish cage operators to culture fish in an area that is less polluted.

“If, for example, you have a measurement of 1,000 for pollutants in their current location, we will be moving them to an area with 300,” Tabay said.

Another problem is the absence of business permits from the operators, Tabay said.

“They are actually not supposed to be there,” he added.

According to the Comprehensive Land Use Program (CLUP) document of the city government, the city’s fish cage culture area covers a total area of 200 square meters as of 2005.

“These fish cages are in Barangays Sasa, Agdao Centro, Matina Aplaya, Bunawan and Daliao,” the document said.

Bangus and siganids are the usual species cultured in floating fish cages, it added.

While there have been plans of raising groupers and lobsters, high costs of feeds and scarcity of fry/fingerlings have led raisers to go back to bangus and siganids.