The recent fish kill around Manila Bay has been unsurprisingly politicized, used to throw shade against the dumping of sand in Manila Bay.
At first, I thought there could be a correlation between the dolomite sand and the fish kill. This may have not been a coincidence, right?
Then clearer photos of the fishes started to surface online. Many were tilapias!
I happen to know some anecdotal information about Manila Bay. I used to surf fish along its shores. This was from 2004-08. Not once did I catch tilapia and I did not expect to.
It can thrive in low salinity conditions, I suspect that the brackish water around the mouth of Pasig River, the area where it drains to Manila Bay have plenty of tilapias.
Breeding tilapias in saltwater is being studied for various reasons. Including the most common in our country, the Nile Tilapia. But the photos circulating online, showing scores of dead tilapia floating in the waters, looks suspicious.
There were even some that no longer have scales. That makes it even more suspicious!
You know what I think? Someone dumped those dead fish there.
There were a few photos of tilapias but there were other species that were floating around the coast too.
DENR already tasked a study to look into the matter. The fishes caught in the area are not that healthy. They’ve accumulated heavy metals. It’s no secret that its water quality is not the safest.
I’ve never eaten anything I caught in the bay. In other spots where I fish, I release but there, if it’s a sizeable catch, someone would ask for it.
Our congressman, who all of sudden took interest in Tilapias in Manila Bay has this to say:
I encourage everyone to read the reference the congressman shared.
By the end of this Manila Bay rehab, we’ll all be dolomite sand and tilapia experts. 😂
The studies cited did not confirm the range of the tilapia’s population. They’re an invasive specie which means if they exceed in numbers, they would damage the bay’s already compromised ecosystem.
Another anecdotal observation from this blogger is that I have seen Tilapias in brackish waters here in Singapore. They’re very timid. They seem to be adjusting to the salinity. The same can’t be said about the catfishes like the eel tail in the marine. These eat your bait faster than a sinking glass with no bottom.
If I have to guess, tilapias are still sparse in Manila Bay. By this I mean, you can surf fish around the bay area and you most likely will land a kanduli than a tilapia.
Photo of Nile Tilapia from Wikipedia commons