Sen. Pangilinan: Turn Batangas fish kill into source of fertilizer

June 1, 2011

Paterno Esmaquel II
May 31, 2011

The 752 tons of fish that died in Batangas could turn “positive” for the agriculture sector if the government converts these into fertilizers and feeds, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Tuesday.

“We may still turn this fish kill around if the fish are still not rotten. These can be harvested and dried and be turned into feeds,” Pangilinan said in a statement addressed to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as well as the local government units (LGUs) involved.

Government can also convert the rotten fish into fertilizer “with the right methodology known to the Department of Agriculture (DA),” he said.

“The soil can be enriched by these organic materials, but there is a proper way of doing it. The DA and the local governments should come together and find out if these mitigating measures can still be implemented,” Pangilinan said.

Noting that 70 percent of the cost of raising livestock comes from the cost of feeds, Pangilinan said, “We should look at how we can turn a negative into a positive for agricultural productivity given the circumstances.”

The government on Monday pegged the value of the dead fish at P57 million.

It can be done

In an interview with GMA News Online, BFAR officer-in-charge Benjamin Tabios Jr. said Pangilinan’s suggestion can be implemented provided that the tons of fish are made to decompose first.

“Some organic material can be used as fertilizer,” Tabios noted.

Tabios, however, said the BFAR can only go as far as provide the technical assistance or suggestions on how to dispose of fish that perished in the province. He said the implementation of specific measures falls on the lap of LGUs.

On Monday, Tabios said the consumption of affected fish is hazardous to a person’s health. Some traders in Batangas, however, continue to sell fish that died in the fish kill, said a report on GMA News TV’s “State of the Nation” newscast.

In 2008, the DA and the Manila city government suggested a measure to convert fish and vegetable wastes into fertilizers.

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