DUMAGUETE CITY: Four fisher folk from the Tañon Strait were recently recognized as Ocean Heroes for championing conservation, coastal law enforcement and sustainable fisheries in the Visayas.
Recognition was also given to Tañon Strait Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that are effectively- managed through strong local government and community collaboration. These MPAs are now providing a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits for coastal communities, a media release from Oceana Tuesday afternoon said.
“Our Ocean heroes inspire so many, including our enforcement agencies, with their vigor and courage in protecting the Tañon Strait. May their determination and dedication spread, as we work together to protect and conserve our rich yet fragile marine resources,” said Oceana Philippines Vice President Gloria Estenzo Ramos.
The 2017 Ocean Heroes are Virgilio Aviso, Renato Buenviaje, Jocelyn Moya-Hekrdle and Mariano Sarcol. They stood out from dozens of candidates for their commitment to protect the Tañon Strait, a 161-kilometer strip dividing the provinces of Cebu and Negros Island. The Strait is one of the largest and most productive MPAs in the country, hosting 63 percent of the country’s coral species and 14 types of whales and dolphins. The MPAs also provide food and livelihood for 42 towns, cities and municipalities in Cebu, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.
The awards were integrated with the recognition given to the exemplary stakeholders and partners of the province of Negros Occidental during the culminating activity of the celebration of the 25th year of the establishment of its Provincial Environment Management Office under the leadership of Wilmon Penalosa.
Governor Alfredo Maranon of Negros Occidental Governorled public officials and participants in the momentous occasion.
Launched in 2016, the Ocean Heroes Awards is a partnership among Oceana Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to honor courageous community leaders and ensure the sustainable management of the marine ecosystems of the Tañon Strait.