• Cagayan reforests mangrove areas

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    ABULUG, Cagayan: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Thursday bared the planting of 250,000 nipa and bakawan propagules and seedlings in a 100-hectare area of this town   to mitigate the effects of climate change.

    BFAR project leader on mangrove reforestation Margie Ubiña said that aside from economic benefits to local villagers, mangrove areas have “ecological benefits.”

    Ubiña said that mangrove reforestation can be “considered as an important climate change mitigation strategy.”

    “Mangrove areas, being the boundary between land and sea, serve as buffer against strong winds and waves,” she said.

    Despite Abulug having one of the largest mangrove areas in Cagayan, Ubiña said that nipa resources are getting scarce.

    Ubiña said that mangrove areas are also the “nursery of the sea” where fish fry and other young marine organisms find protection in mangrove areas.

    “These [mangrove areas]serve as their [marine organisms]nursery and feeding area until such time that the young are big enough to venture into the open sea,” Ubiña explained.|

    Since 2011, new patches of nipa seedlings have been planted under the Philippine National Aquasilvi Program (PNAP) with a total of 2.5 million propagules in various areas of coastal towns in Cagayan, Isabela and Batanes.

    Officials said that under the PNAP, the BFAR acquires propa-gules from fishing associations members who are also tapped to plant and maintain them.

    After a period of about a year, the bureau then inspects the planting sites to determine the number of surviving propa-gules; this is the basis for releasing the last payment to fisher-folk associations.

    The PNAP, which is a brainchild of BFAR Director Asis Perez, also aims to ensure resource sustainability, attain food security and to alleviate poverty.

    Perez said the other program components of PNAP include the establishment of community-based multi-species hatcheries and lying-in cages for high-value marine species in collaboration with state universities and colleges and the local government units.

    Ubiña said that this year, Region 2 has targeted 2.0 million propagules to be planted in feasible sites, 70 percent of which have been accomplished.

    BFAR regional director Jovita Ayson said “mangrove reforestation is part of our long-term investment for the coastal areas.”

    “We enjoin our fisherfolk and others residing in the coastal areas to support the program as ultimately, mangrove reforestation will redound to their own benefit,” Ayson added.

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