BCRMTF calls for communities to help in coastal protection
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 10 (PIA) — As communities are unable to participate in the Month of the Ocean (#MOO) activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Bohol Coastal law Enforcement and Management Task Force (BCRMTF) takes their sustainable seas advocacy online.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Charlie Fabre through Marcial Ugay who represented Fabre during the Kapihan sa PIA here, reiterated coastal protection and marine conservation in times when there is limited movement by creatively adopting to the situation while disseminating information that can be done by anyone, especially on the Internet.
BCRMTF members urged communities to do what they can share for the Para sa Tao: Protected Areas for a Protected Future theme for this year’s Month of the Ocean.
Things as simple as avoiding single-use plastic, or simply keeping non-biodegradable trash in containers so it will not be blown by the wind or scattered by stray dogs.
In these times when most families have turned to backyard gardening in the midst of home quarantine, going organic and veering away from chemical fertilizers are big contributions for the ocean, said Venisse Shalome Molina, DENR information officer.
“The shampoo that you got from that plastic sachet, the tetra pack where that juice you drink comes in, the, seasoning bottles, plastic wraps – if you do not properly stow them, the wind or rain will wash them away and carry them somehow, get them to the coast, where these can kill seagrass beds, corals and marine life,” Molina said.
“The trash will certainly affect our marine sanctuaries, our protected areas where we get our sustainable supply of proteins through the fish in our table,” added Jose Garcia of the Bohol Environment Management Office, speaking for their head Jovencia Ganub.
“For the millennials, aside from sharing the Month of the Ocean streamer, you can also help commemorate by posting your photos of beaches and sea scapes you have been into and using the hashtags #MonthOfTheOCean or #MOO2020,” Molina added.
This year, BCRMTF swings its attention to the protected areas (PAs) in Bohol and making sure their protection continues.
Of Bohol’s total land area, some 548,156.62 hectares have been declared as marine protected areas (MPAs), some of them in the legislated protected areas (PA) and embedded in the seas within the areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems, shared Ugay.
The MPAs, some of them well within the protected areas managed by the multi-sectoral Protected Area Management Board, are also co-managed by people’s organizations and fishermen’s groups.
According to Garcia, Bohol now has 174 MPAs, all having different levels of stocks inventory.
Then a contentious issue among small and marginal fishermen and legislators,
the MPAs are identified and selected based on present stocks and its features which could be conducive to fish and marine life production and reproduction, and includes sea grassbeds, where fish conveniently shelter, access is limited if not fully restricted so as not to drive the fish away, explained Bohol Fishery Officer Conrado Samijon.
While many see the access restriction negatively, the safety of brood stocks and breeders inside the marked MPAs assure continuous reproduction, and when there is over population in the MPAs, fish would usually move out to the buffer zones where marginal fishers can catch them for food.
Most communities with well-managed MPAs agree that fish stocks have come back to their usual density years back, and fishing is not as hard as then.
Aside from the 174 MPAs which the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and local governments also seed abalones, giant clams and mussels, Bohol has also large protected areas like the legislated Talibon Group of Islands Protected Landscape, Panglao Island Protected Seascapes and Alburquerque-Loay-Loboc Protected Landscape and Seascapes, which has kept the clustered Coastal Law Enforcement busy, guarding them from poachers and illegal fishers.
“All because we need to protect these protected areas and assure food security for our future generations,” Ugay added. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)