Mindoro oil spill causes P1B losses, damage, says BFAR

The fishing industry has incurred losses and damage cost nearing P1 billion due to the Mindoro oil spill, with over 26,000 fisherfolk greatly impacted, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has reported.

BFAR director Demosthenes R. Escoto said Saturday the 26,719 fisherfolk affected by the oil spill incurred daily income loss of almost P20 million, translating to a total income loss of P441,253,428 in 22 fishing days.

Meanwhile, the damage or losses in terms of inputs and produce, fishing gears and paraphernalia, and facilities and equipment amounted to a total of P445,333,928, he said.

These losses include fisheries production losses from Mimaropa’s commercial and municipal fisheries valued at P14,138,400, and damage to 119 metric tons of seaweed productions in Western Visayas valued at almost P3 million, Escoto said.

The MT Princess Empress sank off the coast of Naujan on February 28 while carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, resulting in a massive oil spill. The incident has affected over 36,000 families in 163 barangays across the Mimaropa, Calabarzon, and Western Visayas regions.

Since early March, a fishing ban has been imposed on the towns of Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Bansud, Gloria, Roxas, Mansalay, Bongabong, and Bulalacao. The bureau also recommended that the harvesting ban on seaweeds in Caluya, Antique be maintained until further evaluation confirms that it is safe for public consumption.

In addition to monitoring the situation, Escoto said BFAR has allocated about P22 million-worth of livelihood assistance.

He said the bureau provided technical support, livelihood interventions, food and relief aid, and clean-up assistance to protect the public from hazards caused by the oil spill and to address the needs of affected fisherfolk and their families.

The agency has also analyzed water and seafood for contaminants and formulated science-based recommendations on fishing bans, Escoto said.

Oil slick on the water surface can be seen off the coast of Pola during an aerial survey conducted by President Bongbong Marcos. (Photo courtesy of PCOO)

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