Beware of Bangus Botcha: Massive Fish Kill In Batangas and Pangasinan

Beware of double dead fish. Massive fish kill is occuring in Batangas and Pangasinan. Seven towns in Batangas are placed under state of calamity (Talisay, Laurel, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Cuenca, Sta Teresita and Alitagtag). Batangas alone has estimated 140 million pesos losses.

Authorities warns the fisherfolks not to sell and eat double dead fish. However, some merchant wanted to recover their capital and tried to sell their err products. Some were confiscated by officials though many of them managed to reached the end consumers.

Double dead fish is easy to identify. It has bad smell, pale gills, red sunken eyes, bloated belly and soft body. But they are very hard to identify when already processed.

Merchants might processed their product to: fish kill

fish balls
bola bola
broiled or inihaw
lumpiang isda

The above products products are usually made from low cost fish such as galungong. But considering the price drop of bangus from 110 per kilogram to ten pesos per tumpok (maybe a couple of kilograms), illegal processing is very tempting and profitable.

Double dead fish are dangerous. Floating and  barely breathing fish are already dangerous. They are already deteriorated and have unfriendly microorganisms.

According to BFAR, the whole batch of commodity should be thrown away once a slight itchiness on tongue is felt – an indication of high histamine levels.

The fish kill is due to low oxygen levels resulting from climate changes. This finding is still vague though. BFAR is still studying the other possible causes and try to find ways to prevent it from happening again.

Update as of June 4, 2011

– other sea creatures like muang, siliw, katang, apta, pauto, biya and igat are affected by fish kill.

– several cases of food poisoning due to double dead fish were recorded

– the illegal trade of fish botcha continues

– buying public are encourage to take caution

– some lawmakers suggested a heavier punishment for illegal fish trade

– permits to fish pen operators will be limited

– even the  animal parks are refusing to use double dead fish as animal feed. Those fish could  have unknown health effects to their herd.

– many local fishermen are suffering from illness due to bad smell of decomposing fish.

Update as of June 5, 2011

– According to BFAR, we should not be afraid of eating fish balls. This product have no real fish and mostly made of artificial ingredients. Maybe we should be afraid of the preservatives.

Update as of June 7, 2011

– Another one ton dead fish are found in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas

– The water around Taal Lake is beginning to turn red due to large number of dead fish. Shrimps and turtles are also affected.

Update as of June 8, 2011

– Some of the nearby schools suspended their classes. Many students are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting due to bad smelling dead fish.

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