Press Release
June 5, 2011


The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), chaired by Senator Edgardo J. Angara, aims to use an ongoing study that has promising solutions to prevent future fish kills.

Losses arising from the recent fish kills in Taal Lake and Pangasinan have reached hundreds of millions of pesos in lost livelihood for fisherfolk, giving the impetus to find a sustainable solution, said Angara.

The Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC) is undertaking the 7 Lake Aquaculture Network project in Lake Palakpakin in San Pablo, Laguna, which would enable fisherfolk to harvest before an impending fish kill by monitoring oxygen levels using S&T tools. The project aims to create a holistic aquaculture network crucial to the country's stable supply of fish food.

The fish kills have been attributed to a drop in oxygen levels in the water. The AIC project is studying the effects of thermal inversion, where the bottom oxygen-depleted water rises up as the rain cools the top water with the oxygen.

The project deploys mobile aerators that pump air once oxygen drops below certain levels. It will also help local communities plan fish pen building, maintenance and expansion, which could otherwise aggravate fish kills as these disrupt the water's balance. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) will be used to plan strategic locations for fish pens.

A floating field sever also roams around the lake to measure water clarity, dissolved oxygen, temperature versus depth, and even take videos of the fish movement. The data is fed over a wireless sensor network to a data center in the community. Fishermen have found the use of underwater cameras particularly helpful in ensuring their fish nets were properly containing their catch.

Angara said, "In the future, this ecosystem will be linked to communities in Thailand and Japan. We want the Lake Palakpakin project to be a model of sustainable aquaculture that capitalizes on S&T for our Asian neighbours grappling with similar devastation to livelihood and ecosystem."

The Ateneo program is part of a cooperative project sponsored by the Asia Pacific Telecommunity organization of Japan. Partner organizations are Ateneo de Manila University, COMSTE, Department of Transportation and Communication-Telecommunications Office (DOTC-TELOF), National Electronics and Computer Technology (NECTEC) Thailand, Japan Radio Corporation and NTT Japan.

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