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Zero fishkills in Dagupan under Belen Fernandez’s watch

Aug 24, 2016 @ 16:14

There has been zero fishkills in Dagupan City which has been hailed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for having one of the cleanest waters in the country.

Dagupan Mayor Belen T. Fernandez said cleaning up Dagupan’s waters and evicting the illegal fishpens were among her top priorities when che first took over in 2013.

Fernandez created “Task Force Bantay Ilog” which has demolished 508 illegal fishpens, covering an estimated area of 92.26 hectares from July 2013 up to the present.
The Dagupan city government likewise enlisted key experts to determine the best way to carry out rehabilitation efforts for the river.

“Illegal fishpens were quite rampant in Dagupan before Mayor Fernandez took over,” said Dagupan City Agriculturist Emma Molina. “Years of operation had left the river in a poor state, apart from contributing greatly to its pollution.”

Molina said the removal of the fish pens prevented at least 1.5 million bags of feeds and residuals from polluting the city’s rivers.

This is why Dagupan has not incurred any incident of fishkill since 2014. Based on records of the City Agriculture Office, the last known occurrence happened in 2006.

“For reasons that are often self-serving, some people have made claims that fishkill still happens in Dagupan.

Understandably, they have not been able to present one shred of proof, since there is none,” Molina pointed out.

“Recently, there was even an absurd claim that up to P30 million worth of fish died in our river. If this were true, that would have been akin to a Biblical event. You would see dead fish floating all over,” she added.

Dr. Westley Rosario of the BFAR–National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (BFAR-NIFTDC) gave a glowing report after inspecting Dagupan’s waters.

“I can honestly say that, at present, Dagupan is one of the most meticulous cities in the Philippines in terms of water quality testing.Even upon plain visual inspection, you can immediately see that the water is clear and transparent,” Rosario said.

Last June, the BFAR invited Fernandez to share the city’s best practices in river protection and rehabilitation during the 17th meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea.

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