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Cebu News

Lagundi Reef becoming fishing ground once more

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CEBU, Philippines – To the consternation of environmentalists, Lagundi Reef, a protected area in Talisay City, has become a fishing ground again.

"Bantayi na ninyo kada gabii, gamay ra ng 20 ka bangka ang magpundo diha sa Lagundi. Pero wala ra gyuy paki ang syudad," said environmentalist Alfie Fernandez of the Knight-Stewards of the Sea, Inc. (Seaknights).

Fernandez, whose house stands close to Lagundi Reef, added that if the city government won't put guards in the area, the three-hectare sanctuary will eventually die.

In 2007, the city installed floating markers around the reef to ward off fishing and commercial boats to loiter in the protected area, but typhoons have destroyed them. The four guardhouses also placed here were also washed off by the storm, and since then there was no move to replace these, making the fish sanctuary vulnerable.

Earlier this year, the Seaknights through its vice president Fr. Charlie Orobia, OAR, conducted a series of cleanup and rehabilitation in the reef area, wherein the group hauled a number of fishing nets covering the corals.

"Nakuha na 'to namo ang mga fishing nets, pero sigurado, sa kadaghan naa puy mga pukot nga nasangit didto ron," said Fernandez.

The corals need direct sunshine to survive, hence, when these are covered by things such as nets, these will likely die, said Fernandez.

Usually, fishermen just throw their nets without caring as to where these will land, and if these get stuck in the corals' branches, they will just leave them there.

Most of the nets found so far, some about 38.5 feet by 5.5 ft, are likely from commercial fishing boats which are also spotted loitering in the area, Fernandez said.

City Councilor Bernard Odilao, chairman on council committee on the Environment, was shown a footage of the real situation of the Lagundi Reef. The councilor said the city is considering taking steps to remedy the problem. He however did not specify as to what this action it will be.

For his part, Fernandez said a new set of marine buoys surrounding the reef would "definitely" help and a round-the-clock guard to watch over the entire property.

But Odilao said the city could not launch projects as of the moment.

The city, for this year, has allocated P300,000 for the rehabilitation of the Lagundi Reef. Environmentalists have also been asking the city what happened to the US$10,000 donated by the shipmaster of MV Majuro, before he left the country. Chinese national Cheng Guangming was at the helm of the ship when it ran aground there in March 5, 2009. The city has not since filed a case against the ship captain.

In early 2006, the city started rehabilitating Lagundi Reef in the hopes of making it as a dive destination. (FREEMAN)

ALFIE FERNANDEZ OF THE KNIGHT-STEWARDS OF THE SEA

BUT ODILAO

CHARLIE OROBIA

CHENG GUANGMING

CITY

CITY COUNCILOR BERNARD ODILAO

FERNANDEZ

LAGUNDI REEF

REEF

SEAKNIGHTS

TALISAY CITY

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