Philippine fisheries

A blessing? School of fish floods shoreline of Sarangani resort 

Brian Jay B. Baybayan

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A blessing? School of fish floods shoreline of Sarangani resort 

FISH. Locals, beach guests flock to a beach resort in Maasim, Sarangani Province as Lupoy (juvenile sardines) flood the shoreline.

Photo courtesy of Mark Achieval Ventic Tagum

'This phenomenon is definitely normal, so there's no need to worry,' says an officer from BFAR in Sarangani Province

SARANGANI, Philippines – The first Sunday of the new year was a blessing for villagers in Barangay Tinoto in Maasim town as tons of lupoy or juvenile sardines beached their shorelines.

Maasim is a coastal municipality of Sarangani in Region XII located at the southernmost tip of Mindanao. 

Residents of Tinoto and guests of the beach resort rushed to the shoreline, scooping up tons of lupoy using bare hands and pails on Sunday, January 7.

Animal, Fish, Herring
A BRIMMING BLESSING. Collected lupoy are put in fish box and a container after being scooped from the shoreline of a beach resort in Maasim, Sarangani, on January 7, 2024. Photo courtesy of Mark Achieval Ventic Tagum

In an interview by Rappler, Jenad Maulani, a resident of Tinoto said that his family was informed about the fish around 3 am and immediately rushed to the area to scoop them up.

Gi-inform mi around 3 am tapos pag-abot namo didto, nakulbaan ko kay first time nako makakita na daghan kaayo’g isda sa baybay. So, nag-decide mi na magkuha didto kay para sa amoa blessing to,” Maulani said.

(We were informed around 3 am, and when we reached the scene I was nervous to find an overwhelming number of fish beached on the shoreline. So, we decided to pitch in since we considered it a blessing)

Maulani said his group alone hauled in more or less 500 kilograms of lupoy.

Ang nakuha namo na isda ibulad namo siya, ug human sa tulo ka adlaw puwede na namo mabaligya sa market for P8,000,” Maulani said.

(The fish we got from the shoreline will be dried up for three days, after which we can sell them to the market for P8,000.)

Nature, Outdoors, Sky
BLESSING FROM THE SEA. Residents of Barangay Tinoto, Maasim, Sarangani collect tons of lupoy in a beach resort in the province. Photo courtesy of Cirilo Aguadera Lagnason Jr.

Another villager, Mark Achieval Ventic Tagum, said that even the guests of the beach resort benefited from what they considered a “blessing.”

Siyempre blessing talaga sa dami ng isda. Maraming guest ng resort ang nakinabang. ‘Yung ibang isda pinamigay namin sa humihingi. Makatutulong din ito sa kanila [locals] para magkapera sa hindi inaasahan na ganun karaming isda,” Tagum said. 

(The abundance of fish was a true blessing. We generously shared some with interested residents, and even those guests staying at the resort benefited. It will help them [locals] earn money because of that.)

First time kong nakakita nito (This is the first time I’ve seen something like this happen),” he said.

BFAR assessment

To assess the beaching of Lupoy, Rappler contacted Zenaida A. Dangkalan, officer-in-charge and provincial fishery officer of Sarangani under the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region XII.

Dangkalan gave three reasons to explain the phenomenon.

Tatlong reasons po ang nakikita natin bakit nangyari ito. Una, season kasi ng lupoy ngayon. Next, it may be merong humahabol na malalaking isda and sa shoreline sila napupunta kasi ‘yong mga malalaking isda hindi na kayang pumunta sa mababaw na portion. And pangatlo, naaakit sila sa liwanag galing sa beaches,” she explained.  

(First, this might be linked to the current lupoy season. Another could be that a bigger species of fish was chasing after them, causing them to swim toward the shoreline since bigger fish can’t go to shallow portions. And third, the lights from the beach resort might have attracted them.)

Dangkalan also assured, “This phenomenon is definitely normal, so there’s no need to worry.” –

Brian Jay Baybayan is an Aries Rufo fellow.

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