Fish increase in Minantaw brings hope to PH’s only double barrier reef


LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines, July 26, 2013 – Seeing an average of 57 fish within 250 square meters (above photo) may not be much compared to other dive spots but for the Minantaw Marine Park and Sanctuary (MMPS), it is already an underwater Eden considering that five years ago the number of fish there was fewer than 14 over the same area.  Reef fish like surgeonfish, wrasses, angelfish, and large fish such as snappers, emperors, and groupers are returning to the marine park area created through the partnerships among Project Seahorse Foundation (PSF), the United Fishers of Caubian, and Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of the Caltex brand of fuels and lubricants.

Located near Lapu-Lapu City, Minantaw is one of the largest protected areas in Danajon Bank, one of only six double barrier reefs in the world. The 256-hectare MMPS is the first multi-use marine park in the country with zones for regulated fishing, seaweed farming, sustainable-use zone and a 50 hectare no-fishing zone.

Five years ago, there were fewer than 560 small-sized fish inside the no-fishing zone. A recent survey reveals about 2,280 fish of various species within the same area.

PSF senior biologist Angelie Nellas said, “With an average increase of 440 fish per year per hectare, the no-fishing zone can possibly yield about 114,000 fish within four years which is good news for a recovering reef like Minantaw and brings hope in saving Danajon Bank.”

Danajon Bank is a center of biodiversity in the Asia Pacific region and an essential pathway for Asian migratory birds.  Danajon is also a critical fishing ground for thousands of fishers from four provinces that line Danajon’s 130-km. length which are Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Southern Leyte. Since 1950s, wanton exploitation and absence of conservation have severely degraded its habitats.

Raissa Bautista, CPI  manager for Policy, Government  and Public Affairs,  said, “Caltex firmly believes in fostering environmental values and putting them into action through strong partnerships. We hope that this project will inspire more businesses and conservationists to work together in maintaining a clean, safe environment.”