In Sarangani, dolphin, whale sightings mean bay is healthy | Inquirer News

In Sarangani, dolphin, whale sightings mean bay is healthy

/ 05:17 AM August 27, 2019

In Sarangani, dolphin, whale sightings mean bay is healthy

BAY PROTECTION The Sarangani government and the environment department in Soccsksargen region are joining hands to protect Sarangani Bay, where pods of dolphins and whales have been seen regularly. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

GLAN, Sarangani, Philippines — Large groups of marine mammals have been seen in Sarangani Bay, an indication that the area declared protected by the government last year is healthy and safe for the sea creatures, according to an environment official.

While this is good news to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local officials have raised concern over the volume of garbage seen in the bay.


Sabdullah Abubacar, DENR director for Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos), said the sighting of more than 100 marine mammals from Aug. 13 to 16 only showed a thriving marine life in the area and a healthy environment where food for them was still abundant.



Among those spotted by a government monitoring team were two dwarf or pygmy sperm whales in the waters of Malapatan town, between 40 and 60 spinner dolphins off Glan and Malapatan, between 150 and 200 Fraser’s dolphins off General Santos City and Glan, four pygmy killer whales off Malapatan, and six Risso’s dolphins off Glan.

The team was composed of personnel from the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Sarangani Province Environmental Conservation and Protection Center, and the General Santos City environment and natural resources office.

They saw the whales while conducting a third-quarter monitoring along the coast of Sarangani and in the towns of Maasim, Alabel, Malapatan and Glan.

Garbage problem

But while the team was glad at the sightings, they were worried about the patches of floating garbage that could harm cetaceans and other marine creatures. The garbage included plastic bottles and wrappers and other nonbiodegradable materials.


Several fishing vessels were also present.

Abubacar, who also chairs the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB)-SBPS, ordered the team to strictly implement a garbage disposal system in the area and continue their monitoring.In Sarangani, dolphin, whale sightings mean bay is healthy

Though it was not the first time that a large number of sea mammals had been seen in Sarangani Bay, it was the first time for the environment team to document them, he said.

Abubacar said the DENR and the Environmental Management Bureau had intensified their monitoring of activities of all establishments along the bay to protect marine life in the area.


Gov. Steve Solon, vice chair of the PAMB-SBPS, said the government must strictly enforce the law because these marine creatures could vanish if activities around the bay would not be regulated.

“The implementation of the rules must be strict so that everyone will follow,” Solon said. “We can have economic development without setting aside the protection of our seascape and marine life.”

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Sarangani Bay was declared a protected area under Republic Act No. 11038, or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Act of 2018. —EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ

TAGS: DENR, Sarangani Bay

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