Fish Start Dying | The Jackal

6 Jun 2011

Fish Start Dying

Last week thousands of dead fish were found at Taal Lake in Talisay, Batangas, south of Manila. The mass die off raises further concerns over the effects of climate change, which looks set to have serious consequences for the aquaculture industry. NZ currently earns more than $1.3 billion each year by exporting fish and shellfish to other countries.

Scientists believe that the deaths are not related to activities inside the nearby Taal volcano. Instead it appears that a sudden environmental temperature change in the area caused the fish to die en masse.

"About 500 metric tons (500,000 kg) of fish, worth more than 50 million pesos ($1.4 million NZD) were seen floating in the water in the six towns of Batangas province the past two days," a local mayor said. 

Commonly fish death is linked to the depletion of oxygen in the water, which is caused due to a number of factors. Gases released from volcanic activities can lead to poor oxygen levels in nearby lakes, but scientists believe this not to be the case in this instance. 

Police warned local residents not to sell or consume any milk fish (bangus) or tilapia, which is another species that died in large numbers, or they could face criminal charges.

The milk fish aquaculture industry is one of the major revenue sources of the Philippines economy with far reaching consequences. According to an official, such an event has not occurred ever before in Manila.