By Carmencita A. Carillo, Correspondent

Davao City marine protected areas get German support

Posted on November 19, 2015

DAVAO CITY -- Management of the city’s marine protected areas (MPA) is getting a boost with German funding for a project that is intended to strengthen a campaign to conserve marine resource the community level.

Aid agency Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in behalf of the German government, is providing P2.5 million coursed through the University of the South Eastern Philippines (USEP) for the establishment of an MPA network in the city.

The Davao City Marine Protected Areas Ordinance of 2007 mandates the establishment of MPAs in the city to protect and rehabilitate critical habitats, increase fish productivity, enhance biodiversity and promote eco-tourism and research.

Among the declared MPAs in the city are a 415-hectare (ha) area in Bunawan-Lasang,21 ha in Agdao and 37 ha in Matina Aplaya.

There are is another 20-ha combined area in various parts of the city that are considered MPAs but are not covered by the ordinance.

“I hope the city will take advantage of this opportunity so that we will be able to properly manage our MPAs. I believe more support from GIZ will be coming once the first project will be successful,” said Councilor Marissa S. Abella, chair of the committee on agriculture.

GIZ earlier submitted a research proposal to the agriculture committee for the conservation of biologically important species in the city.

A partnership agreement was signed between GIZ and USEP early this year for the project, which covers the three established MPAs and five proposed MPAs.

Consultations have also been conducted with the fishing communities around the MPAs.

Ms. Abella said the project, called Strengthening, will also contribute to the campaign against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF).

“The project aims to reduce IUUF in the city, manage protected areas to increase community awareness and identify supplemental livelihood programs,” she said.

Ms. Abella said Davao has 19,827 hectares of marine waters that encompass 26 coastal barangays, comprising about 10% of the total area of the Davao Gulf.

The councilor noted that the strict implementation by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Region 11 of the closed season at the Davao Gulf from June to August in the last two years has strengthened marine resource conservation.

Meanwhile, Barug Katawhan Multipurpose Cooperative, a fisherfolk organization based in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental, has asked Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala to strengthen the implementation of Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 201 even after the three-month Davao Gulf closed season.

FAO No. 21 bans “fishing by means of active gear in municipal waters, bays and fishery management areas.”

“This would ensure the continuity of the spawning season of small pelagic fishes in the region even after the closed season,” said cooperative’s manager, Jerry V. dela Cerna.

Banning such operations in municipal waters covering areas 15 kilometers from the coast, he explained, would in effect extend the closed season.

Active fishing gear refers to “fishing devices characterized by gear movements and/or pursuit of the fish by towing, lifting and pushing the gear, surrounding, covering, dredging, pumping and scaring it to impoundments such as: trawls, purse seines, Danish seinse, ring nets, drive-in nets, round haul seines, motorized push nets and bag nets among others.”

FAO No. 201 does not cover the use of non-active gear like cast nets, spears, crab or shrimp lift nets, hooks and lines, poles and lines, multiple handlines, troll lines, jigs, man pushnets, cover pots, scoop nets or seines, bottom and drift gillnets, drift filter nets, kitang longlines and beach seines.