Divers clean up Sto. Domingo Fish Sanctuary

        Legazpi City—Divers from the Bicol SCUBA Divers Foundation, Inc., Phil. Navy – Naval Forces Southern Luzon, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol scoured the fish sanctuary of Sto. Domingo in Albay Province to remove crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) and trash hooked on its coral reefs.

DENR Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales said the underwater clean up was part of the observance of the National Clean Up Month and a belated event of the International Clean Up Day which is held annually on the third Saturday of September.

At least 80 divers coming from BSDFI, NAVFORSOL and DENR volunteered for the event to clean up the fish sanctuary, remove the crown of thorns as well as trash that were pinned on the coral reefs.

RD Gonzales said there is really a need to conserve our fish sanctuaries as well as marine biodiversity and one such way is to remove the crown of thorns which feeds on live hard corals and another is to remove trash adrift on the reefs.

Jose Roco, science research specialist of DENR – ERDS and president of BDSFI explained that crown of thorns infestation has negative impact on corals and affects marine biological diversity, a mature sea star can ravish an area of  0.6 kilometers of coral reef in a year.

According to the data collated by DENR, the divers were able to extract 163 sea stars and various trash from plastic bags, cigarette butts, sanitary napkins and diapers, the sea stars were disposed of by burying in the ground while the trash were collected by the local government.

        Dir. Gonzales thanked all the volunteer-divers from BSDFI, Commo. Franco Sebastian Pan of the NAVFORSOL for providing sea assets with their rubber inflatable boats and Mayor Herbie Aguas of Sto. Domingo for hosting the underwater clean up event.

Press Release: September 29, 2014