LAGUNDI REEF, TALISAY
Lagundi is a famous dive spot in Talisay, Cebu (Philippines) for its teeming and rich marine biodiversity.
As a tropical sea world, this reef offers colorful sea life that is worth seeing and most of all worth the time and effort preserving.
I mentioned ‘worth preserving’ because it is being threatened by some scrupulous groups or individuals who prefer to exploit its abundance with minor effort to gain with ease.
The baseline date of Lagundi is about 24 thousand square meters (almost 4 hectares). This marine biodiversity area was discovered by Mr Nator, a CMAS instructor and president of Technical Committee CMAS Philippines. He hails from Talisay City itself.
Nator discovered the reef in 1981 and had just revisited the reef in 2004 after his overseas work.
In 2006, the city councilor (Shirley Belleza) named the reef ‘Lagundi’ and was opened as a dive site in 2007. Some say that the area where the reef is situated belongs to Bogo Shoal based on a mapping of the area. Lagundi is supposedly located near Mananga estuary but is said to be less diverse than where the named area is.
Anyways, what is more important is recognizing that this place plays an important role in marine biodiversity, natural environment where fishes reproduce in huge numbers and everything that thrive.
THREATS TO LAGUNDI REEF
Being rich with fishes and other source of seafood, many locals exploit the reef by fishing. Fishing is alright as long as it does not deplete and distract the marine life to reproduce regularly.
The alarming issue is that some fisher folks use illegal means to catch fish in huge numbers. They do this by using homemade dynamites to cripple the fish and easily collect them. They call this method as ‘blasting’.
It activity is very rampant that environmentalists and divers are alarmed by the destruction that this practice has caused to the marine life of this reef.
SOME STEPS TO PROTECT LAGUNDI REEF
Concerned citizens and awakened individuals are aware that illegal practices, such as blast fishing, can do more harm than good to the livelihood of the locals. That’s because once the home of the fish is destroyed, no more fish will thrive or reproduce, which is a very logical and common sense concept.
A dive instructor reported his observations about blast fishing to the official of the city to help stop the illegal fishing activities. Fernandez has observed dead fishes floating by the shore and discovered corals destroyed by such activities.
In 2005, Lagundi Reef has been declared a marine sanctuary, a coral reef located around 1.5 kilometers from the Poblacion of Talisay.
Fernandez has organized a volunteer group of watchers, the Seaknigths, to keep watch the reef and help assist in restoring the marine sanctuary. He himself was a volunteer as caretaker of the reef in 2006-2007.
During that time he and the volunteers set up hundreds of marker buoys surrounding the sanctuary and a guard house.
However, when a foreign vessel ran aground in this protected area in 2009, it destroyed some reef areas and the marker bouys. This means that restoration and setting up again that buoys are necessary to keep the protected marine sanctuary from further destruction.
Due to the joint effort in trying to protect again the reef, Talisay City administration has implemented provisions of the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, which is in existence for many decades.
Republic Act 8550 mandates the protection of marine sanctuaries to officials of the country.
SUPPORTING THE REEF’S PROTECTION
I believe that one of the best ways to support and promote the protection of this reef is by visiting the place and do scuba diving. In this manner, the more visitors come to see and enjoy its amazing natural giftedness all the more people (including locals, fishers, officials, etc.) see the need to preserve the whole area.
It means that by visiting the place, you would learn more about it and really experience and feel the need to do protect the place. Of course, this should be done in many places in the country, however, at least it is best to start in one place and let others learn best practices from it.
Surely, other places in Cebu or around the country have been doing it already. For those of us who are aware of the cause and effects of our every action, it is our great responsibility to help educate in our own little ways those who have less understanding about the consequences of their un-reflected actions.
Well, as I said already, it is great to preserve our environment not only to be enjoyed but also to let nature provide us the food we need. Livelihood is not an excuse to illegally exploit and destroy marine life and the source of food for everyone.
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Have a wonderful day!
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