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First Tañon Strait summit set in Cebu Feb. 10-12

CEBU CITY, Jan. 29 — Environmentalists, representatives from concerned agencies and civil society and the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) management will gather for the first Tanon Strait Summit to be held from February 10 to 12 this year in Cebu City.

Oceana Philippines, in a statement, said the summit will include meetings of hundreds of environmental advocates and members of the Protected Area Management Board (PMAB) of Tañon Strait.

The strait, located between Cebu and Negros islands, has been declared a protected marine area by then President Fidel Ramos on May 27, 1998.

Covering 521,018 hectares, Tañon Strait is said to be one of the 10 richest fishing grounds in the country today.

"With more than 350 members, the Tañon Strait PAMB has never held a general assembly due to its sheer size and conflicts between national agencies and local government units regarding jurisdiction and overlapping functions," said Protected Area Supervisor Viernov Grefalde in a statement.

Oceana said there are 126 smaller marine protected areas within Tañon Strait managed by the local government units.

Oceana said Tañon Strait is a hub for cetaceans, with at least 14 species of whales and dolphins.

It is also home for 26 species of mangroves, 18,830 hectares of coral reefs representing 15 families, and seven species of seagrass.

Studies in the strait also revealed that it has 70 species of fish and 20 species of crustaceans like squid, shrimp, clams, and crabs.

The protected area is also famous for its dolphins, which has become a tourist attraction in the Visayas.

"Convening the PAMB and holding the stakeholders' summit are bold, big and essential first steps to ensure governance in TSPS that is participatory, transparent, accountable, predictable and effective," said Oceana Philippines vice president Gloria Estenzo-Ramos. (PNA)

LAP/EB/PR/

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