Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fish Kill Now. Next, "Human Kill"?

We are at the brink of extinction!  (pause…)  No, not really.  (pause…)  LOL.  I am just being overly dramatic.  But population explosion is an imminently serious problem that's staring us in the face.  (pause…)  Taunting…

Floating fish.  Fish be with you.

Take for instance the wave of fish kill happening now in the Philippine's largest lake, the Laguna de Bay.  Hundreds of kilos of Milk Fish and Tilapia floating in the water, almost everyday now.  Dead!  "Fish kill" or "fish mortality" happens when there is insufficient amount of oxygen in the waters to sustain the needs of the fishes.  What causes this depletion in oxygen levels?  One main reason is "overpopulation".  No, there is no overpopulation of Milk Fish or Tilapia in Laguna de Bay.  Milk Fish and Tilapia are regularly harvested from the lake and they are known to multiply at a rather controlled rate.   The culprit is the knife fish.

Knife fish is a fresh water carnivorous  fish.  It is also an ornamental fish which you usually see in aquariums.  Fishermen and authorities from the province of Los Banos, Laguna say that there is quite a number of knife fish now in Laguna de Bay.  How did this happen?  Knife fish is not a native fish of the lake.  It is highly probable that an irresponsible aquarium owner threw some knife fish in the lake.  (There have been some controversy on how the knife fish got to the lake.  There are ugly political angles which are just too awful to discuss.  Anyway, that is not the point I am trying to make here.  You will find out about it soon enough.)  This knife fish multiply so fast that their number has already threatened the ecological balance of the lake.  As proof, fish kill is now happening.

(If you want to learn more about the knife fish, click here for an information overload.  The "animal-world" web site is actually awesome!  The picture of the knife fish is taken from that web site.)

All too familiar.  Never really learned the lesson.

Some years ago an irresponsible aquarium owner threw some janitor fish in the Pasig River.  Pasig River is the main tributary in the island of Luzon in the Philippines that originated in Manila Bay and ends in Laguna de Bay.  The fish proliferated in the muddy river and has gone to an alarming rate.  It is but natural that the janitor fish made its way to Laguna de Bay and wreaked havoc to the delicate ecosystem of the lake.

Chain reaction.

This seemingly contained fish kill incident is nothing to get panicky about.  That's probably right.  But this is just a glimpse of what could happen if overpopulation happens to the human race.  Okay, am I being overly dramatic again?  This time, I am not.  I am dead serious.  No pun intended.  This overpopulation in the lake caused fish kill.  It has affected the lives of fishermen who make their living raising Milk Fish and Tilapia.  If this fish kill continues, in turn it will affect more people  including a lot of consumers in Metro Manila since there will be a decrease in the supply of Milk Fish and Tilapia in the markets.  As such, from the Law of Supply and Demand, the prices would go up.

Overpopulation in humans can spark "human kill".   You don't believe me?   Think again…

Human population explosion.  Exaggeration?

We now realize that "overpopulation" has one devastating effect.  It literally claimed lives!  A certain area could only support a certain number of living organisms.  That's a law of nature, isn't it?

Robert Malthus, an English economist and clergyman argued in his Essay on Population written in 1798 claimed that 'without the practice of "moral restraint" the population tends to increase at a great rate than its means of subsistence, resulting in the population checks of war, famine, and epidemic'.  This is known as the Malthusian Theory which I remembered discussed in our high school Biology classes.  Again, in simple terms - a certain area (whether land area or area in water) can only support a certain number of living organisms.  Therefore, it is but essential to control the increase in population!

You'll be amazed at the unbelievable ignorance of some people despite the availability of information in the world wide web.  There's about a hundred million Filipinos now.  In the coming years, it is expected that this number would go up at an exponential rate.  It is high time that the government do something about this.  It is high time  that  Filipinos open their minds about population control.  We surely do not want nature's ways of controlling population - famine or epidemic; and we sure do not want war!  "Moral restraint" is what Robert Malthus suggested.  In our case, there's the Reproductive Health Bill or RH Bill.  This is a highly controversial topic which I would gladly discuss some other time.  In the spirit of information dissemination, click here for the extensive discussion of Wikipedia on the subject matter.  Know the bill first before saying you're against or in favor of it.

Think about the Malthusian Theory.  Think about the chilling, devastating, and "real" effects that overpopulation brings.

First, be informed!