By Annabel J. Petinglay
ILOILO CITY, Jan. 31 - Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. together with Oton Mayor Vincent Flores led the initial installation of artificial reefs in the five-hectare marine reserved area of the coastal municipality early Thursday morning.
Gov. Defensor said that the installation of the artificial reefs is intended to restore the once abounding marine resources of Oton that is the first town of Iloilo province after Iloilo City going to the south.
The governor recalled that in his college days they would go to Oton to enjoy eating the fresh catch and the abounding shells locally known as "lampirong" which are now diminishing.
The governor also said that Oton especially its next town Tigbauan used to be known for the milkfish or bangus that is why the Southeast Asian Fisheries and Development Council-Aquatic Development Center (SEAFDEC-AQD)) was put up there to draw the interest of scientists from all over Southeast Asia wanting to study aquaculture.
Oton Mayor Flores, meanwhile, thanked Gov. Defensor for showing concern on their depleting marine resources. He said that the artificial reefs (ARs) installed today is a joint project of the Iloilo provincial government, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the local government of Oton. He said that the fisherfolk of Oton contributed labor in making the artificial reefs as their counterpart.
Initially installed today are seven jackstone type ARs, three bamboo pyramid type ARs, and six condominiums introduced by famous environmentalist Atty. Antonio Oposa that is in the form of an igloo made of cement with bamboo poles and side openings for fishes to enter and spawn.
The members of the Fishery and Aquatic Resource Management Council composed of fisherfolk in Oton after the initial installation today will continue making more artificial reefs to be dropped on the reserved area between Oton-Tigbauan towns and Oton-Iloilo City. (PNA)