BANGUINGUI, Sulu, Philippines – The municipal government here has embarked on a massive planting of mangrove tress in at least three coastal areas of the municipality aimed at reviving the fish habitat and protecting the sanctuary of tropical and reef fish found in the area.
Mayor Abdulwahid Sahidulla said the local government here has entered into an agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the massive planting of mangroves.
Sahidulla said DENR has allotted some P2 million for the project that will cover some 238 hectares of idle coastal areas in this town.
He said the island municipality with an estimated coastal area of 128 hectares is the largest site to be plated with mangroves by the local government here.
The coastal villages of South Paarul and Tabialan consisting of 60 and 50 hectares, respectively, of idle coastal areas are to be planted next with mangroves, Sahidulla said.
He said some 200 sea farmers are now working with the local government by planting mangroves in identified areas in the municipality.
“We hope to complete the planting of mangroves early next month since we have enough seedlings available for planting and the number of people working,” Sahidulla said.
As this developed, Sahidulla said he is urging the local Sangguniang Bayan (SB) to adopt a resolution calling for a total ban in the cutting of mangroves in this town.
He said that once adopted, the municipal government will immediately order authorities and other concerned government agencies stationed in this town to implement the content of the resolution.
He said mangrove areas should be protected at all times since they are being utilized by tropical fish as their habitat and sanctuary in their laying eggs.
The municipal sea waters here is considered as one of areas in the Sulu Sea that is abundant with tropical and deep sea fish species, including squid of various species and sizes.
Hundreds of species can exist in a small area with a healthy reef, many of them hidden or well camouflaged or multi-colored fish, he said.
He lamented, however, that the loss and degradation of coral reefs and mangrove areas, increasing pollution, and overfishing, including the use of destructive fishing practices, are threatening the survival of the coral reefs, mangroves and, sea creatures.