4,000 artificial reef domes to be deployed in Sarangani Bay

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 Aug) – In a bid to restore Sarangani Bay’s dwindling fishery resources, the municipal government of Maasim in Sarangani Province is planning to deploy around 4,000 artificial reef domes along portions of the bay in the coming months.

Rolando Tuballes, Sarangani provincial environment and natural resources office (PENRO) chief, said the local government of Maasim has partnered with a non-government organization and an industrial firm for the massive fabrication of the artificial reef domes.

He said the reef domes will serve as breeding grounds and aggregating devices for marine life along the town’s coastal waters.

Tuballes said Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. and officials of leading cement manufacturer Holcim and the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc. recently signed a memorandum of understanding to jumpstart the project.

Under the agreement, he said Holcim will provide 2,000 bags of cement worth roughly P500,000 pesos for the fabrication of the reef domes.

Such move is part of the corporate social responsibility of the company in upholding its commitment in managing resources responsibly and working with communities to develop sustainable options for their future, he said.

Tuballes said the reef domes will be fabricated by people’s organizations composed of fisher folk, who will be paid by the Alcantara Foundation P50 for each unit.

He said 14 of Maasim’s 16 barangays will benefit from the project.

“An additional 270 domes that Alcantara Foundation produced in partnership with World Vision will initially be deployed starting this week, with 30 to 50 units released per deployment every Friday,” he said in a statement released by the Sarangani Information Office.

Tuballes said they initially proposed for the creation of a management plan to provide a clear guide for fisher folk in the correct usage of domes and the proper management of the project by the local government unit to ensure efficiency rather than “worsening the situation.”

Based on the results of PENRO’s seven-year assessment, Sarangani Bay’s coral cover has so far gone down to below 30 percent.

Maasim officials earlier said the fish catch in coastal areas of the town has considerably gone down these past years because of the dwindling coral cover.

To remedy the problem, PENRO recommended the deployment of artificial reef domes to encourage the growth of marine life and the rehabilitation of damaged reefs along the bay.

Since 2009, various groups have already deployed around 1,000 reef domes off the coasts of Maasim town.