Commission Says Commercial Fishing
Destroying Lingayen Gulf
Don’t look at us, commercial fishers counter
Small fishers’ groups and the Lingayen Gulf Coastal Area
Management Commission urged the government to review Fishery Administrative
Order No. 194, which would allow the present number of commercial boats
to continue operating in Lingayen Gulf. They said commercial fishing
operations are rapidly depleting and degrading the Gulf and should be
totally banned from the area. The order was signed by President Fidel
Ramos shortly before he stepped down in June.
Commercial fishers, however, argued that the Commission and small
fishers’ groups are barking up the wrong tree. "The Commission
[should] go after the blast fishers as [blast fishing], without question,
is the most destructive form of fishing," George Chua Cham, chairman
of the Lingayen Gulf Commercial Fishing Association, said in a letter
to Agriculture Secretary William Dar. He added that the situation is
aggravated by the proliferation of small payaws (a fish-aggregating
device) which have become targets of blast fishing. "Removing the
payaws will eliminate up to 90% of blast fishing," he said. G.
Cardinoza in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08.05.98
Fish Dispersal At Naujan Lake
Some 135,000 milkfish and tilapia fingerlings worth P500,000 were
released in Naujan Lake to boost the lake’s fish population. Provincial
agriculturist Rodolfo Valdez said the fingerlings were taken from the
P5-million Milkfish Broodstock Development Project in Barangay San Jose
I, Naujan town. Valdez said the dispersal is being done yearly to replenish
the lake’s fish population which has dwindled due to overfishing. Naujan
Lake is one of the largest freshwater bodies in the country. J.J. Jabal,
the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08.10.98
We’re Running Out of Safe Water, Says
Science and Technology Secretary William Padolina warned that the
country would face a national crisis on drinking water. He said lack
of potable water has already become a major concern for Metro Manila
residents. The problem, he added, is now "building up in a crisis
proportion" on a national scale. A few years from now, he predicted,
a household might have to spend up to 60% of its food budget on bottled
water "to prevent its members from getting gastrointestinal diseases."
J.F. Canuday in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08.10.98.
Palawan - White Dolphin.
A white dolphin previously unrecorded in the Philippinse has been
spotted in northern Palawan. Named after Burma’s Irrawaddy River and
scientifically known as Orcaella brevirostris, this species is described
as "elusive". It lives in the coastal, brackish and fresh waters of
the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific. The discovery of the second
species of white dolphin in the country (the first is the finless porpoise)
started with the recovery on the shores of Malampaya Sound of a single
skull, which was confirmed to be that of the Irrawaddy dolphin. This
brings to 21 the number of dolphin species found in Philippine waters.
There are 80 known dolphin species in the world. J. Sarmiento in
the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 07.27.98
Surigao del Norte - Dugong.
Two sightings of dugong were reported about 1 km off Cagdianao,
Dinagat Island in Surigao del Norte, 3 km across Dinagat Sound to the
boundary of the Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape. The
first sighting was made in February, the second in June. "These
are unexpected sightings," said Joselito Ramirez Jr., IEC officer
of the Surigao Economic Development Foundation Inc., who first posted
the report on this website’s Discussion Board last June. "The dugong
abounded in the area in the 1950s, was captured until the 1960s and,
before these recent sightings, was last seen in the 1970s."
Ramirez also noted that dynamite fishing at nearby Halian Island
has stopped, which could be the reason for the return of the dugong.
Negros Oriental - Light-emitting
Reports of "dancing undersea lights" off the coast of
Barangay Martilo in La Libertad, Negros Oriental had people spinning
tales of the lights’ supernatural and extraterrestrial origins. The
truth turned out to be not so outworldly, but it was no less mysterious
for the many questions it left unanswered. Scientists and scuba divers
of the Environment and Natural Resources Management Division of the
provincial government of Negros Oriental and the Silliman University
Marine Laboratory agreed that the lights were caused by a school of
fish belonging to the genus Leognathus, which is known to emit
light. The slipmouth or palotpot belongs to this genus.
Veronico Duran, a member of the diving team, had the privilege
of a close encounter. "The lights looked like disco lights coming
out every 1.5 seconds," he said. "With bare eyes, we did not
know where the lights came from. When we turned on our flashlights,
we saw only fish. They all moved in unison, turning right and then left.
It was like someone was orchestrating their movements."
Dr. Winfried Wiedemeyer, a German tropical ecologist and marine
biologist and also a member of the expedition, said it was the first
he had seen fish emitting that kind of light when in a school. His colleagues
downplayed the possibility of a new fish species, but Wiedemeyer posed
two questions: What makes the fish "blink" in unison? Why
are they confined to the seawater off the coast of Barangay Martilo?
By R.G. Capilitan in The Freeman, 08.06.98