The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) is set to launch a committee-level inquiry into the suspected fish kill that hit three towns in Bohol amid fears of the presence of the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) in lakes in the province.
Provincial Board Member Jade Bautista, in a privilege speech delivered during the SP’s regular session on Tuesday, said she received reports on alleged fish kill incidents in three interconnected towns, Sevilla, Bilar and Carmen with one fish farmer reporting a 90-percent yield loss.
“Affected fish cage owners believed that this could be due to the TiLV or the Tilapia Lake Virus, which has hit other parts of the Philippines such as that in Bulacan in 2017. One fish cage owner shared that out of the expected 3,000 kilos harvest from his stocked fingerlings, it only yielded 300 kilos or loss of 90 percent,” said Bautista.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has taken water samples in affected lakes in Sevilla and Bilar to test for TiLV.
Those in Sevilla tested negative but one in Bilar was found out to be positive for TiLV.
“Treatment has already been done and after which, another water sample has been collected and sent to the national office for testing but no results yet as of this writing,” Bautista said.
While the virus is potentially lethal to fish, the BFAR clarified that it does not pose a risk to human health.
However, the provincial legislator emphasized the urgency of the matter as the virus could hit more lakes in the province leading to a hike in fish prices.
“I believe this should be resolved quickly for it will adversely affect our tilapia growers industry and corollary to that, will also affect our fish prices in the market,” she said.
Bautista, who is chair of the SP’s tourism committee, requested the legislative body’s agriculture committee to look further into the incidents.
“I am bringing this matter before this August body so we can further conduct an investigation in aid of legislation, if necessary and also for the general public to be well-informed,” she said.
In 2017, the TiLV was detected in Bulacan killing 101,383 tilapia fishes.
It was one of the first known fish kill incidents caused by the virus. (RT)