THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is recommending to retain the fishing ban in municipalities affected by the Oriental Mindoro oil spill.
Based on the bulletin released by the BFAR, fish samples collected and analyzed from the affected areas in the early days of March exhibited low-level contaminants or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which is harmful to humans and other living organisms and may pile up in marine organisms over time.
Water and fish samples were collected from the municipalities of Bansud, Bongabong, Bulalacao, Calapan, Gloria, Mansalay, Naujan, Pinamalayan, Pola and Roxas in Oriental Mindoro, and Caluya in Antique.
Samples collected from March 9 to 12 showed that the result is within the standard of 3 mg/L set by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources through Administrative Order 2016-08 for water quality guidelines on fishing areas.
“The Bureau recommends keeping fishing bans in these municipalities since the initial analyses are not yet conclusive evidence as far as food safety is concerned,” the BFAR said through a statement.
The bureau also said that they are continuously analyzing and monitoring the area to produce results on the impact of the oil spill with regard to food safety.
According to the latest satellite image released by the Philippine Space Agency captured on March 28, the oil slick from the sunken MT Princess Empress vessel reaches the bay north of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, and the combined stretch is 29.7 kilometers and covers a total area of approximately 18 square kilometers.
The oil tanker MT Princess Empress sank on February 28, spilling 800,000 liters of industrial oil.
It has been located 389.1 meters below sea level and 13.89 kilometers northeast of Balingawan Point of Pola, Mindoro.