Study to protect critical Sarangani Bay pushed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 May) – The city council here is pushing for the conduct of a comprehensive study on the diverse ecosystems of the critical Sarangani Bay as it moves for the institution of special protection and conservation policies for the entire bay area and its resources.

In a resolution, the council specifically asked the Mindanao State University’s College of Fisheries here to lead the study on the Sarangani Bay, focusing on the definitive assessment of its condition, status and protective measures that are currently in place.

“A comprehensive knowledge or information coupled with a well-informed populace could greatly contribute to its sustenance as one of the city’s last bastion of marine natural resource and wealth,” the resolution said.

City councilor Rosalita Nunez, who authored the resolution, said the results of the study will mainly assist the city government and other concerned agencies in formulating proper protection, conservation and management measures for the bay’s ecosystems.

She cited the need for the city to set sustainable practices in terms of the utilization of the bay’s resources and development expansions along its coasts.

Nine of the city’s 26 barangays are situated along the coasts of Sarangani Bay, which is shared by the city and nearby Sarangani Province.

These are barangays Siguel, Tambler, Calumpang, Labangal, Dadiangas West, Dadiangas South, Bula, Buayan, and Baluan.

Nunez cited that the entire population of the city mainly benefit from Sarangani Bay’s ecosystems, especially in terms of “goods” derived from its resources and even from those that are regarded as intangible like tourism and recreation.

It provides “services” such as the proper functioning of hydrological cycles, prevention of air and water pollution, maintenance of oxygen in the atmosphere, pollination of crops and other things that generally contribute to the betterment of the living conditions of the people, she said.

The official said these variety of “goods and services” provided by Sarangani Bay have been taken for granted these past years and led to the destruction of some of its vital resources.

Adding to its woes are the increasing human migration and settlement, rampant commercial fishing, opening of industrial establishments and adoption of destructive technological advancements.

She said these add up to the existing concern on the heavy siltation of rivers discharging various materials that, in turn, cause the influx of sedimentations on the bay’s coral reefs and sea grasses.

Owing to this, Nunez said they deemed it necessary to promulgate conservatory efforts for Sarangani Bay and at the same time promote advocacy on the provision of accurate information on its ecosystems for both the benefit of the present and future generations.

She added that the MSU College of Fisheries has the technical knowledge, skills and a wide array of resource persons who are proficient enough with the subject of biological, natural or environmental science that are all essential for the initiative.