Fish kill in Lake Sebu triggers emergency harvest of tilapia

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 09 January) —  Another fish kill episode hit Lake Sebu in South Cotabato starting Friday, forcing tilapia fish cage operators to conduct massive emergency harvest.

Lake Sebu Mayor Floro Gandam confirmed in a radio interview on Saturday the latest fish kill that has affected fish cages in three barangays surrounding the 354-hectare mountain lake.

Rudy Muyco, the lake warden, laments the fish kill that recently hit Lake Sebu on Sunday, October 20, 2013, in Lake Sebu town, South Cotabato. MindaNews photo by Bong Sarmiento
In this file photo taken on October 20,  2013, Rudy Muyco, the lake warden, laments the fish kill that hit Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. MindaNews photo by Bong Sarmiento

He said the affected areas were portions of the lake’s waters in barangays Poblacion, Bacdulong and Takunel.

“The emergency harvests are ongoing to save the remaining tilapia,” the mayor said.

He assured that the tilapia from the lake delivered to various markets are safe to consume.

Gandam said Municipal Agriculture Office personnel are currently conducting an assessment to determine the extent of the damage and implement necessary interventions.

He assured that the local government will provide the necessary assistance to the affected fish cage operators.

The mayor said the fish kill was triggered anew by the occurrence of “kamahong,” a phenomenon that is mainly caused by the sudden rise in the water’s temperature.

“Kamahong,” which usually occurs during the rainy season, triggers the rise of sulfuric acid that eventually lowers the dissolved oxygen in the lakes’ waters.

The last major fish kill episode in Lake Sebu occurred in 2017, destroying over 120-million peso worth of tilapia. (MindaNews)