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BFAR sea divers assess CagVal's coral reefs' condition, fisheries diversity

TUGUEGARAO  CITY  Cagayan (PIA) -- To ensure the bounty of the region's biodiversity, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 2 conducted an underwater assessment and monitoring of the region’s coral reef condition and fisheries diversity.

Gericho Gibe, head of the Fisheries Resources Management Section, said included in the areas assessed by the bureau scuba divers are the established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other reefs along the coastal municipalities of Dinapigue, San Mariano, Palanan, Divilacan and Maconacon in Isabela province which are covered by the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park.

Scuba divers of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 2 assess the coral reef condition and fisheries diversity in the coastal areas of Cagayan Valley region. Photo courtesy: BFAR 2

Gibe said the reef condition of the region is classified as a ‘low to good’ coral reef community and a ‘low to moderate’ reef fish diversity.

He said the marine resources of Cagayan Valley - coral reefs, sea grass beds, and mangroves remain stable and it is attributed to the number of ordinances passed by local government units for the management, preservation and conservation of coastal resources.

“The assessment was conducted to come up with policy recommendations and to create appropriate conservation and management interventions through the coastal local government units and private conservation groups,” Gibe said. 

BFAR, as one of the agencies mandated to be stewards of fishery resources, Regional Director Angel Encarnacion said the underwater assessment is an activity of the fisheries bureau in collaboration with the environment department to ensure that the conditions of reef areas, as well as the concentration of fish species, are properly monitored and evaluated.

Photos of the biodiversity in the Marine Protected Area of Isabela province. Photo courtesy: BFAR 2

Encarnacion said over the years, the projected collapse of reef systems in the country calls for the provision of accurate and actionable monitoring data imperative.

While the region's fisheries and aquatic resources show a decline in commercial fish for the past years, he said the bureau has strengthened its programs for inland fisheries and provided necessary intervention for commercial fishery resources to include capacitating the fisherolk sector and granting fishery paraphernalia, including fishing boats. (OTB/GVB/PIA Region 2, with reports from BFAR 2)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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