Blast fishing in Lagundi Reef alarms divers
A group of scuba divers expressed alarm over rampant blast fishing in Talisay City’s Lagundi Reef.
Alfie Fernandez, a dive instructor, reported to Mayor Johnny Delos Reyes that they documented blasted fish found floating in the reef last week.
The reef used to be a thriving coral garden with plenty of fish and a good diving site, he said.
Fernandez , who lives a few meters away from the reef, said that he often noticed fishermen in the area.
“I can say that it was neglected and taken for granted. Ccorals were dying, fish were declining,” Fernandez said.
The Lagundi Reef is a 2.4-hectare coral reef about 1.5 kilometers from the Poblacion. It was declared a marine sanctuary in 2005.
Fernandez said that he and two diving companions found blasted fish floating near the reef last Saturday.
“I know it is a result of blast fishing because I was trained as a fish warden by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR),” he said in his letter to Mayor Delos Reyes.
Fernandez said his group, the Seaknights, is willing to assist in the restoration of the marine sanctuary.
Local government officials led by Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante will visit the reef today to check its condition.
Fernandez used to take care of the reef in 2006-2007 as a volunteer.
He said that he and other volunteers fielded hundreds of marker buoys around the sanctuary and put up a guard house.
A foreign vessel ran aground in the reef in 2009 destroying the marker bouy and part of the reef.
“I know how hard it is to nurture, preserve and protect the reef,” Fernandez said.
He said that if the local government unit had replaced the markers, the reef could have been protected..
Fernandez enjoined the new Talisay City administration to implement provisions of the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
Republic Act 8550 mandates every city and municipality to maintain and sustain marine sanctuaries.
Since the mayor has not yet issued an executive order appointing someone to take care of marine waters in Talisay, Villarante said that he would temporarily take on the responsibility of protecting the Lagundi Reef.
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