Mine-silted town in Surigao Norte to establish four marine sanctuaries

CLAVER, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews / 28 April) – The town of Claver plans to set up four marine sanctuaries despite the siltation problem it faces due to large-scale mining activities.

Glen Plaza, local project coordinator of the Integrated Coastal Resources Management under the office of Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office said these four marine protected areas are supported by municipal ordinance which will be approved before the local legislative here on Monday.

He said these four marine resources are Kabujoan Reef in Barangay Lapinigan, Karaang Banwa Reef in Barangay Urbiztondo,  Lambuhan Reef in Barangay Hayanggabon Reef and Lambason Reef in Barangay Cagdianao.

All these marine sanctuaries have a total of 163 hectares including buffer zones.

Plaza told MindaNews on Monday that all of these marine protected areas have been damaged by both illegal fishing activities and mine silt.

Councilor Jan Karol R. Broniola, chair of the Committee on Environment and Environmental Protection said this ordinance which is on third and final reading  aims to achieved food and economic security  as the overriding consideration in the utilization, management, development and promotion through ecotourism, conservation and protection of the coastal, marine and fishery resources.

Several fisherfolk here have been displaced because of the mining activities that destroyed part of their fishing ground.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Claver was among the major sources of marine products but fisherfolk say large-scale mining operations have destroyed its marine life.

The establishment of marine protected areas was welcomed by fisherfolk but they worry over how large-scale mining operations have ruined the spawning ground of the fish.

“What about the irreparable damage by mining to the sea? How could it be protected from the siltation?” asked Arcasio Genancias, one of the fisherfolk from the village of Cagdianao.