DENR told to stop planting mangroves in seagrass beds

By Marian Z. Codilla |September 17,2015 - 11:03 AM

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry– Bantayan chapter called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop planting mangroves in seagrass beds in Bantayan town.

In a resolution, the CCCI-Bantayan said the DENR mangrove-planting project in barangay Luyong Baybay, Doong island damaged the marine ecosystem instead of helping increase fish population.

Fisheries is the most important economic driver of Bantayan town. In barangay Luyong Baybay, gleaning shells is one of the main fishing activities of the coastal community.

“CCCI-BC members witnessed and documented the activity. Allowing this inappropriate activity will damage the natural ecosystem not only in the areas where it is directly planted with bakhaw (mangrove) but even beyond,” the resolution reads.

Arthur Despi, CCCI-BC president, said 12 hectares of seagrass beds in the coastal area in barangay Luyong Baybay have been planted with mangroves as of Sept. 2. Three more hectares will be planted by November.

Seagrass beds are as important as mangroves. Like mangroves, seagrass is a habitat and breeding ground for fishes and mollusks. It also serves as buffer from the waves and improves water quality.

“While the activity of planting mangroves is a laudable project, the activity was implemented in the natural seagrass beds of Doong island. This has already brought in certain consequences that are bound to alter the marine ecosystem,” the resolution said.

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