It is not only fishermen who are rising up in arms against fish pens sprouting in Punta Dumalag.
The Department of Health also blamed the fish pens for the rise of e-coli bacteria in the Punta Dumalag sea to threaten the health of bathers. The shorelines of Punta Dumalag, along with Times Beach in the Matina Aplaya area, is home to beach resorts.
About 120 fish pens illegally operating in Punta Dumalag dump into the pens thousands of kilos in fish meal every day to pollute the sea. Fishermen depending for livelihood on Punta Dumalag complained their catch has been dwindling due to marine pollution from the fish cages.
If the pollution is not stopped, fishermen feared a fish kill could happen not only in Punta Dumalag but also the Davao City side of the Davao Gulf. Also to be threatened is the Marine Turtle Sanctuary located in kidney-shaped Punta Dumalag that juts out of Matina Aplaya. Beach resort owners in Punta Dumalag and Times Beach are already reporting about bathers complaining about skin irritations that could only be traced to the pollution of the sea caused by tons of artificial feeds dumped into the fish cages.
The fish pens are said to be operated by businessmen who are not from Davao City who do not pay taxes.
City councilor Leonardo Avila said the Davao City government is determined to stop the operation of the fish cages.
Avila is also the vice chairman of the Davao Gulf Management Council.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wants the closure of the fish cages, said Avila.
A study by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) showed that E. coli bacteria in the area has increased.