CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro (PIA) -- The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has been continuously testing the water and fish in the affected fishing areas since the onset of the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.
Water and fish samples are regularly collected and tested for the presence of oil and grease and harmful chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), respectively, to determine if fish and other marine organisms are safe for public consumption and if fishing grounds should be re-opened.
This is important to ensure the safety of the consuming public and of the fisherfolk against harmful fuel in the affected areas according to BFAR.
The latest analyses of the DA-BFAR showed that varying levels of oil and grease and PAH contaminants were present in water and fish samples across all sampling sites in the province. In particular, oil and grease slightly increased in Cluster 1, particularly in the town of Naujan and Calapan City; and Cluster 3 (Bansud, Gloria, and Pinamalayan), but these were still within the standard limit of < 3.0 mg/L for Class SC waters or those suited for boating and fishing activities, as well as fish propagation intended for commercial and sustenance purposes.
Meanwhile, PAH levels recorded in all sampling sites were below the baseline values.
In light of these developments, the DA-BFAR recommends keeping fishing bans in Clusters 1 (Calapan and Naujan), 2 (Pola), and 3 (Bansud, Gloria, and Pinamalayan) due to the risk of contamination from traces of oil that have yet to be removed from the area.
The recent analyses likewise showed that the fishing waters in Clusters 4 (Bongabong, Bulalacao, Mansalay, and Roxas) and 5 (Baco, Puerto Galera, and San Teodoro) were within acceptable standards for fishing activities.
Currently, the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro allows the fisherfolk of Calapan and Naujan to fish in the municipal waters of Baco, Puerto Galera, and San Teodoro. On the other hand, the fisherfolks of Pola, Bansud, Gloria, and Pinamalayan are allowed to fish in Bongabong, Bulalacao, Mansalay, and Roxas.
The DA-BFAR will continue monitoring oil spill-hit areas for a time-series observation, which will be the basis of its recommendations for concerned government agencies and local government offices to allow fisherfolks to go on fishing. (GATS/PIA Mimaropa/DA-BFAR Mimaropa)