By Judy Flores-Partlow
DUMAGUETE CITY, June 28 Scuba divers of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of Negros Oriental and the police environment desk officer of Dauin Monday conducted an underwater ocular survey of the Maayong Tubig marine sanctuary to determine the extent of the damage caused by a sea vessel that allegedly encroached on its protected waters last week.
ENRDs environment management specialists Anabelle Barillo and Glendo Lazarte, along with PO2 Richard Elona of the Dauin PNP-PEDO, took measurements and assessed the current status of the coral formations in the more than 13-hectares of the marine protected area in Maayong Tubig.
The dive survey was conducted upon the request of Mayor Rodrigo Alanano who is considering appropriate legal action against the M/V Lorcon Davao and its owners, Lorenzo Shipping Lines.
Results of the ocular survey showed that, indeed, patches of coral reefs of varying sizes, the biggest at an estimated 25 square meters, had been destroyed, the divers said.
A coral table was overturned, while a coral head of about 1.2 meters in diameter had also been damaged, said Anabelle Barillo.
While indeed, only a fraction of the marine protected area, measuring about 38 meters in length parallel to the shoreline, had been destroyed, the divers said there is a need to rehabilitate it.
The depth of the destroyed corals was between 30-35 feet, or about 12 meters from the surface, the divers said.
They also brought some good news when they surfaced, saying they saw several schools of fish in the marine sanctuary.
These include target or food fish of the siganidae family, (such as rabbit fish), acanthuridae family (surgeon fish), groupers, sole fish, damsels, sweet lips, squirrel fish, cardinal fish, parrot fish and goat fish, to name a few.
Ornamental fish like the clown fish and the butterfly fish were also still seen in the area.
The divers are preparing to submit a report to the town mayor, who is collecting various information and documentation prior to taking action against those responsible for the damaged reefs. (PNA) LAP/JFP