03 May 2023
The Department of Agriculture–Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has assured the public that it is preparing for the upcoming El Niño, noting that mitigating measures are in place to ensure enough food supply.
DA-BFAR national director Atty. Demosthenes R. Escoto explained that the weather phenomenon, forecasted to emerge starting in June, has positive and negative impacts on the local supply.
Atty. Escoto said El Niño may be favorable to archipelagic species such as tuna and sardines because these organisms prefer warmer temperatures.
On the other hand, the weather phenomenon may be challenging to land-based aquaculture species like bangus and tilapia since lower water levels may also mean scarcity of dissolved oxygen in their habitat, he added.
The good news, according to the bureau’s national director, is that local fisherfolk could cushion the impact of El Niño on their catch by following good aquaculture practices.
He said the DA-BFAR is encouraging fisherfolk to have good aquaculture practices like having the appropriate stock or number of fingerlings in their cages so they won’t lack oxygen, thus lessening the probability of fish kill occurrence.
Atty. Escoto assured the public that the agency’s mitigating measures are in place to boost aquaculture production ahead of El Niño. The strategies include intensifying information, education, and communication campaigns among fish farmers; boosting production of fish farming in cages in the mariculture parks; and ensuring sufficiency of fry and fingerlings.
He said the DA-BFAR will also continue its close monitoring of algae bloom for possible red tide occurrence and provision of technical assistance on fish disease detection and treatment, among others.
The DA-BFAR national director also reported that the supply and prices of fish in local markets remain stable.
Citing the DA-BFAR’s latest price monitoring report, Atty. Escoto said bangus are priced at P120-P160 per kilo, while tilapia range from P130-P150 per kilo. Local-fresh galunggong are priced at P200 per kilo.