The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has denied the occurrence of a fish kill in Sual Bay early this week, saying it was the result of overstocking of milkfish fingerlings by operators.

BFAR Region 1 (Ilocos) Director Nestor Domenden said Friday two operators overstocked their cages, each one measuring 85 square meters, with 85,000 fingerlings, although it can only accommodate 45,000.

There are estimated 750 fish cages in the Sual Bay area, Domenden said.

Up to 30 metric tons of fish reportedly died from this episode, which was the result of the thinning of dissolved oxygen needed by the fish in the water, the BFAR official said.

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Fish kill is commonly caused by pollution or by other contaminants.

Domenden said when an operator overstocks his cage twice the allowable number, some of the fish would naturally die as they compete for the only available dissolved oxygen in the water.

It was fortunate that the affected operators were able to harvest half of their fish before the incident, he said.

Domenden called on the local government of Sual, Pangasinan to strictly monitor the operations of fish cages to avoid a repeat of overstocking of fingerlings.

He noted that Sual had a standing municipal ordinance recommending the proper stocking of fish cages, yet it was disregarded by the two affected operators.

According to a report, the fish cages of Sual, located in a mariculture area designated by BFAR, are owned by local and foreign corporations.

All of these have a combined production of some 300,000 metric tons of fish yearly, being sold in North and Central Luzon and Manila.

Sual Mayor Roberto Arcinue has confirmed the findings of BFAR that no fish kill happened in his town. (PNA)

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