Fishing ban in Aklan town lifted

PCG Photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The fishing ban in New Washington, Aklan, has been lifted following clearance from the Environmental Management Bureau Western Visayas (EMB-6).

In a Certificate of Analysis issued on June 5, the EMB-6 stated that “the water quality has returned to safe levels for fishing activities” after the oil spill from a shipyard impacted the town on May 26.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office reported that the oil spill had been contained due to the swift response from the local government and other agencies.

They managed the situation by installing solid booms, fence booms, and absorbent booms in the affected areas.

“In view of the foregoing analysis, it is necessary to lift the suspension to restore the livelihood of the fishing communities and ensure the availability of local fish products,” Mayor Jessica Regenio-Panambo said in an executive order signed on June 6.

All fishing activities within the vicinity of the shipyard in Brgy. Polo, Districts 1, 2, and 3 in Pinamuk-an along Lagatik River, Sitio Malogo, Kamingawan, Lagatik Riverside in Brgy. Poblacion, and Sitio Kamangahan in Tambak have already resumed.

Despite the lift, concerned local government offices are directed to continue monitoring water quality and ensuring compliance with environmental and safety standards.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said it had distributed 446 food packs worth P296,590 to families affected by the oil spill.

The Department of Health also turned over health kits, peak flow meters, latex gloves, Go bags, N95 masks, aquatabs, and water testing kits, among other medical supplies, to the local government.

Coast Guard Station Aklan commander John Laurence Banzuela confirmed to Daily Guardian that Metallica Shipyard, the owner of the shipyard, had committed to covering all expenses related to the incident.

The spill was attributed to heavy southwest monsoon rains, which caused a rapid rise in water levels, flooding a barge and resulting in the oil leak.