Fish Are Dying in Angat Dam

The regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Central Luzon has recommended a regular water quality monitoring at the giant reservoir of Angat dam after diagnosing the cause of the “strange” fish kill in the area that threatens the food source and livelihood of the Dumagat tribesmen living at the dam’s watershed area.

Remedios E. Ongtangco, BFAR regional director, made the recommendation after finding that the cause of mortalities among giant tilapia was “thermal stratification aggravated by the high level of total unionized ammonia”.

“We strongly suspect that there was a thermal stratification or sudden change in temperature in the water,” Ongtangco said.

She explained further that thermal stratification is a condition of differences in temperature in the different layers of water resulting also in differences in dissolved oxygen levels.

“The one condition that contributes to thermal stratification in deep bodies of water like Angat dam reservoir are heavy rains, especially during late afternoon and after a very hot day,” the BFAR regional director also said.

The BFAR Regional Fish Health Team together with personnel from the Angat Watershed Area Team (AWAT) and some local fishermen conducted an investigation after reports broke out about the mysterious fish kill occurring in the giant reservoir.

Dumagat tribesmen depend on fishes in Angat dam, like the giant tilapia and kanduli, for their food and livelihood.

Water samples were taken at four different stations in Barangays Matulid, San Lorenzo, Pinaganakan and Intake.

The team has found out that water quality parameters specially the total unionized ammonia, often referred to as “toxic ammonia”, was above the ideal levels of O.02 mg/li.

The team explained that the high unionized ammonia levels is an indication of the significant decomposition rate in the area.

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