LEGAZPI CITY: To save marine life and preserve the coral reef in Albay Gulf, Legazpi City has adopted measures to restore the 1,200 square-kilometer reef destroyed by a Vietnamese vessel five months ago here.
The Integrated Coastal Resource Management (IRCM) Unit of Legazpi started the rehabilitation works early this month to revive the Denson Reef locally known here as Pulang Buya.
The city government had imposed a fishing ban over Denson Reef, which is considered a favorite dive site of both local and foreign tourists, to proceed with the rehabilitation efforts.
Legazpi City has marine reserves covering 37.24 hectares with coral reef area of approximately 10.3 square kilometers and 72 hectares mangrove forest.
Denson Reef was destroyed by MV Ocean 3, a Vietnamese vessel owned by Hoang Anh Shipping that ran aground after unloading sacks of imported rice from Vietnam in June this year. The ship’s hull hit through the coral reef.
The mishap destroyed the 1,200-square-meter area within the 30,000-square meter Denson Reef, which is a marine protected region being managed by IRCM.
Mayor Noel Rosal has demanded the shipping company to pay P4 million in damages to rehabilitate the destroyed reef.
Meanwhile, IRCM officer in charge Benigno Redito said restoration works will entail about a year from the re-planting of corals, re-generation for fish shelter and habitat expansion.
The team set up more coral nursery with limestone embedded on concrete disk and generation through replanting on bleached coral as well as installation of artificial substrate. They also put up shelters to enhance coral and fish recruitment; planting of new coral fragments on coral nursery; coral planting on damage reef and replanted seagrass.
The ICRM Unit was organized to protect the city’s natural marine resources as well as to promote sustainable development and ensure food security for the people of Legazpi.