by: Rodrigo S. Victoria

NAVAL, Biliran – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 8 set an amount of P417, 103.50 for the destruction of coral reef in Sambawan Island caused by a foreign cargo vessel which ran aground the area on June 13.

sambawanreefdamage
View of the damage corals in Sambawan Island taken today, Tuesday, June 18, 2013 by the personnel of the Office of the Provincial Agricultural Services (OPAS) in Biliran province. (RVictoria)

M/V Unicorn Logger, a Japan bound vessel from Malaysia loaded with logs, damaged 280.5 square meters area of coral reef based on BFAR assessment report.

The BFAR report stated that the computation of value cost of marine resources of World Bank (WB) on corals is about P1,487.00 per square meter.

However, Section 21 of Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 provided a fine in the amount of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500, 000), exclusive of the value of the thing damaged, or imprisonment for not less than one (1) year but more than six (6) years, or both, as determined by the court.

The offender shall also be required to restore or compensate for the restoration to the damage.

Meanwhile, the BFAR report mentioned that the quick response team (QRT) and the environmental monitoring unit who conducted an assessment on the reef damage on June 16, 2013, measured the damage area using a transect line with the following measurement: 25.5 meter length and 11 meter width of the grounding area measuring a total damage area of coral reef at about 280.5 square meters.

The total hard coral and soft coral cover was estimated at about 20% and 30%, respectively, with most of the soft corals dominated by pulsating soft coral then followed with leather coral and other come in patches, like Pierogyra specie and Sea Whip coral, the report mentioned.

The report also mentioned that the hard coral species were represented by different species in the area, including Tubastrea micrantha, Mycedium elephantatus, Ganiapara species, Dipicastrea hellospora, Pacillapora species, Acropora digitata, Lobophyllia species.

Invertebrates were also observed in the area, like Tube sponge, Barrel sponge, Feather star, Anemone, and Tube Worms which were the most dominant invertebrates in the reef. Fish composition was mainly represented by the following: Goatfish, Damselfish, Anemonefish, Anthias, Wrasse and Grouper.

The BFAR 8 QRT members who prepared the report are: Dan de San Miguel, Mat Alcantara, Ariel P. Collara, Rodel Quilbio, Eugenio Lagrimas. The report was noted by Justere M. Granali, BFAR OIC assistant director. (PIA 8 Biliran/rvictoria)

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