Legazpi declares fishing ban in Demson Reef

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LEGAZPI CITY: The City Government of Legazpi has declared the three-hectare Demson Reef, locally known as “Pulang Buya,” in Albay Gulf as off-limits to fishermen.

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The move marks the start of rehabilitation work on the 1,200-square-meter coral reef destroyed by a Vietnamese cargo vessel that ran aground last month at the city’s shallow reef, said City Agriculture Office chief Jess Kallos on Thursday.

Kallos said the “no fishing” order is just temporary though it would affect at least 937 fishermen.

He explained that the order will give their office sufficient time to conduct a study and plan rehabilitation measures to restore the damaged coral reef.

The Hoang Ang Shipping, the owner of MV Ocean 3, earlier paid the city government P4 million as part of a settlement agreement.

The cargo vessel, with 4,532 gross tonnage and manned by 21 Vietnamese crewmen, was reportedly departing from the city port after unloading tons of imported rice from Vietnam when it ran aground and ravaged the city’s affected coral reef.

Kallos said the rehabilitation plan also includes an alternative livelihood program for hundreds of displaced fishermen.

PNA

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