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Milkfish farming moratorium begins

21 February 2019, at 11:18a.m.

Marine fish pens in one of the Philippine’s largest milkfish producing zones are being dismantled in an attempt to improve water quality.

The municipal government of Anda in Pangasinan province has started clearing fish pens growing milkfish in Kakiputan Channel, after adopting a "no fish pen" policy according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Pangasinan province accounts for 27 percent of the 391,908 tonnes of milkfish produced in the Philippines annually
Pangasinan province accounts for 27 percent of the 391,908 tonnes of milkfish produced in the Philippines annually

At least 473 milkfish pens and 266 cages in the town's aquaculture zones - which had been established in 2003 - have been blamed for the deterioration of water quality by impeding water transfer.

Prior to the removal of the pens, which is due to be completed by April, the province had been responsible for 106,857 tonnes of milkfish (known locally as bangus) – 27 percent of the 391,908 tonnes produced in the Philippines annually.

The decision to impose a moratorium on finfish aquaculture follows an event last May when poor water quality led to mortalities totalling 110 million pesos (£1.16 million).

"Following the fish kill… last year, we have agreed that we now have to rehabilitate our aquaculture zone," Elizabeth Tomas, the town's agriculturist, told the paper.