'Helen' damage to fisheries reaches P806,000
MANILA, Philippines - Tropical storm "Helen" left P806,000 in damage to the local fishing industry, according to a preliminary report of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The bureau reported that fish pond and fish cage operators in Ilocos suffered losses of P780,000 in bangus and tilapia stocks, on top of P26,000 worth of damage to fishing equipment after the storm caused flooding in the region on August 14.
The total damage accounts for only less than 1% of what fisheries contributed to the Philippine economy last year, but the loss is hitting the industry at a bad time.
The industry has seen negative growth for 7 straight quarters. A regional fishing ban to protect overfished tuna in pockets of the Pacific Ocean led to a 3.33% drop in industry output during the first 6 months of 2012, said BFAR Director Asis Perez. The industry was looking forward to positive growth since the ban was lifted for local fishermen but the latest loss could dampen production further.
BFAR Region 1 Director Nestor Domenden reported that at least 113 fish operators were affected -- 102 in Pinili, Ilocos Norte and 11 in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur and Sto. Tomas in La Union.
Effect on tilapia
Not only did fingerlings escape from fish cages and damaged dikes, but also 7.5 tons of selling size tilapia were lost during the storm.
On the national level, Perez said he directed BFAR-operated hatcheries that were not affected by flooding to reserve bangus and tilapia fry for distribution among affected fish operators when weather conditions permit.
He assured the public that despite the storm damage, the supply of bangus and tilapia in Metro Manila is stable since most of the supply in the capital comes from fish cages in Taal Lake.
Tropical storm Helen left 9 people dead as it moved out of the Philippines towards the southern coast of China.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 5,883 families or 24,492 people were affected in Regions I, III, IV-B and Cordillera Administrative Region. The economic costs for the 3rd quarter of 2012 are still be totaled. - Rappler.com