BFAR: Keep fishing ban in 6 oil spill-hit Oriental Mindoro towns

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 23) — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) wants the fishing ban to continue in six towns of oil spill-hit Oriental Mindoro after discovering that oil, grease, and hazardous chemicals are still present in their waters.

In its latest oil spill bulletin, BFAR recommended that the restrictions be kept in place in Calapan, Naujan, Pola, Bansud, Gloria, and Pinamalayan due to risk of contamination.

"The latest analyses of the DA-BFAR showed that varying levels of oil and grease and PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) contaminants were present in water and fish samples across all sampling sites in the province," the agency said.

However, the waters of Bongabong, Bulalacao, Mansalay, Roxas, Baco, Puerto Galera, and San Teodoro were within acceptable standards for fishing activities, BFAR added.

According to BFAR, the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro allows fishers from Calapan and Naujan to fish in the municipal waters of Baco, Puerto Galera, and San Teodoro, while those from Pola, Bansud, Gloria, and Pinamalayan are allowed to fish in Bongabong, Bulalacao, Mansalay, and Roxas.

BFAR said it plans to provide more than ₱117 million worth of emergency and relief assistance, early recovery efforts, and mid-to-long term recovery aid to affected fishers.

Around ₱4.4 million was already rolled out for post-harvest training while ₱1.5 million went to food assistance for more than 5,000 affected fishers in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (Mimaropa).

The massive oil spill was caused by a tanker that sank off the coast of Oriental Mindoro almost three months ago.