ZAMBOANGA CITY – The coral ecosystem in Sarangani Bay has remained “in good status, healthy, and is improving’, according to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Roland Tuballes.
“The coral cover and reef condition of Sarangani Bay is good,” Tuballes said.
He described the coral ecosystem status as “improving because of the management options employed by local government units, national agencies, to include the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), and the concerted efforts of the communities.”
According to Tuballes, a good status implies “maganda yung coral ecosystem, buhay na buhay siya, and marami ang marine life that thrives in the coral ecosystem.”
Tuballes said this was because of the “programs and activities for marine protection, human interventions, and law enforcement.”
One human intervention was the coral transplantation done on August 5 to August 18 at the Tuka Marine Park and Beach Resort in Kiamba.
Tuka Marine Park saw the first and successful coral transplantation in Sarangani as a healthy coral ecosystem brings “ecological and economic benefits”.
“The coral ecosystem is the habitat and feeding ground of all marine life, so if it is diverse and intensified and it will bring economically productivity, especially on fisheries,” he said.
In a study, “coral reefs, considered as the rainforests of the sea is home to a variety of organisms, and serve as shelter, refuge, and feeding grounds of juvenile and adult fishes and invertebrates”.
Tuballes said declaring Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in some parts of Sarangani Bay was also an intervention that preserved the marine life.
“The main objective why you declare an area as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is because that is the remaining coral ecosystem still intact,” he said.
It could be recalled that, in 2011, MV DoubleProsperity, a Panama-registered bulk carrier rammed the protected Bakud Reef off Kiamba.
The 224-meter-long cargo ship, manned mostly by Filipino crewmen, was on its way to India from Australia with about 66,000 tons of coal when it ran aground seven kilometers off the coast of Kiamba.
In 2012, Philippine authorities seized two Malaysian vessels for dumping coal waste into theSarangani Bay.