TACLOBAN CITY – The local government unit of Palo is planning to develop the Binangalan Reef Fish Sanctuary (BRFS) into a tourist destination.
This is after the result of the assessment dive conducted by personnel from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The Binangalan Reef Fish Sanctuary was declared a marine protected area (MPA) through Municipal Ordinance No. 94-03 which was passed and approved in 2019.
“Marine life is slowly thriving in the Binangalan Reef Fish Sanctuary,” Mayor Remedios Petilla shared after she received the assessment report from BFAR divers.
Based on the research conducted by the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College in 2019, the live coral cover of the BRFS is at 13.60% which is mostly composed of encrusting (7.10%) and massive (5.0%) corals.
Although the reef has not fully recovered from the destructions from the past as a result of illegal fishing and super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013, corals had started to regrow and various species of fish can already be seen in the area.
At least seven different types of coral species are growing in the area based on the assessment of BFAR divers and several marine animals which includes sting rays were documented during the dive.
“So we are planning to develop the area to make it a tourist destination because this kind of site lacks in our area unlike in Southern Leyte where there are lots of coral reefs. In this portion of our region, we seldom see a site like it,” Petilla said.
The first thing the LGU will be doing to develop BRFS is to protect it and set delineations for people especially fishermen to easily identify that they are entering the protected marine area.
“We will order the Bantay-Dagat to regularly monitor the area and then there should be a delineation of boundary. That is a fish sanctuary so the rules and regulations should be strictly followed,” Petilla stressed.
Petilla added that they will be asking the BFAR to help them create measures to fulfill their plan of developing the area and at the same time, they will create a tour package that will connect Binangalan to other tourism activities in the municipality.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA)