More than 100,000 fisher folks in 58 provinces in the country have already been affected by the El Niño phenomenon and fish production will drop by at least 20 percent, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
Fish productions from municipal fishing may drop by 23 percent while commercial fishing may fall by 20 percent in the last quarter of 2015 till the first quarter of this year, BFAR said. Asis Perez, BFAR National Director said that they are expecting a decrease in fish production in natural bodies of inland waters (lakes, rivers, dams and reservoirs) while high temperature could result to fish kills because it hastens decay of organic matter and promotes plankton bloom. Low water supply would also cause increasing salinity and because of this production in fish ponds, fish cages and fish pens will decrease. The breeding and growth of fry and fingerlings will also be affected by high temperature.
Because of the severity of the situation, the department has already come up with the El Niño Mitigation Plan for the fisheries sector and has set aside almost P1 billion to alleviate the damaging effects of El Niño. The budget will be used for the following:
- Coastal and Inland Fisheries Resource Rehabilitation and Development (budget: P84.96 million).
- Deployment of fish aggregating device or payao (budget: P104 million).
- Research and development (budget: P63.93 million).
- Formulation of Coastal and Inland Fisheries Resources Management plan (budget: P225 million).
- Seaweed production and distribution (budget: P195.24 million).
- Monitoring, control and surveillance of harmful algal bloom (budget: 10.772 million).
PAGASA reported that El Niño will be at its worst in the last quarter of 2015 until the first half of 2016 surpassing the 1997 and 1998 conditions that the country experienced.