• Philippine Resources

Saving Masbate’s Marine Ecosystem with Mangroves


By Marcelle P. Villegas


For decades, the marine ecosystem in Masbate faces various threats like dynamite fishing which destroys the coral reefs and kills marine animals. Another is large-scale commercial fishing which causes depletion of fish population and biodiversity. These concerns are being addressed by Filminera Resources Corporation (FRC) in cooperation with the local government in Aroroy, Masbate.


Mayor Arturo Virtucio of Aroroy, Masbate said, “We need the help of Filminera to expand our mangroves. The more mangroves, the more food and shelter for the fish. When the mining was revived, there was a boom in the population and our waters were overfished.” [1]


With this scenario at hand, the mayor emphasised the importance of planting mangroves in all coastal barangays. “Whatever is exposed by low tide should be planted with [mangrove] propagules. That way, we can survive from fishing when the mine ceases to operate.”


Mangrove trees are vital in the marine ecosystem because their roots serve as homes for fish and shelter for migratory birds. More mangroves in the area means more shelter for a larger population of fish. Mangroves also prevent flooding in coastal areas. [2]


The project started in 2015 with Mga Para-Oma kag Parapangisda Para sa Kauswagan, an organization composed of farmers and fisherfolks in Brgy, San Agustin, one of the coastal barangay of Aroroy. A memorandum of agreement was signed with FRC and the organization to plant 20,000 to 30,000 mangrove propagules with the company to finance the planting.


The Mangrove Rehabilitation Project expanded from 4 barangays to 8, namely Barangays San Agustin, Puro, Balawing, Amoroy, Panique, San Isidro, Matalangtalang and Don Pablo. To date, 1,350 propagules were planted.


In relation to this project, Mr Darwin John C. Raymundo (Senior Biodiversity Officer of FRC) noted that they are introducing “diversified mangrove species” which they grow in a plant nursery. They teach and orient the local fisherfolks about the importance of mangroves in the environment.


References:

[1] Filminera Resources Corporation corporate brochure 2019

[2] Mapping Ocean Wealth. (2019). “Accounting for Mangroves in Flood Protection”.

Retrieved from https://oceanwealth.org/accounting-for-mangroves-in-flood-protection/

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