Saving Philippine Reefs: Coral Reef Monitoring Expedition to Moalboal and Badian, Cebu, Philippines. April 14-21, 2013
TitleSaving Philippine Reefs: Coral Reef Monitoring Expedition to Moalboal and Badian, Cebu, Philippines. April 14-21, 2013
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWhite A, Maypa A, Apistar D, Dacal D, Baird M, Delizo, Jr D, Diaz R, Martinez R, Sabonsolin A, Porpetcho W, White E
Date Published07/2014
InstitutionCoastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc
CityCebu City
Keywordscoral reefs, MPA, SPR

The coral reefs in Moalboal and Badian appear stable with living coral cover ranging from poor (<25%) to good (>50%). Live hard coral (LHC) cover in the deep zones of Moalboal and Badian MPAs range from fair (35.71±10% in Zaragosa Island) to good (64.92±35% in Saavedra) while it is poor (16.46±16% in Lambog) to fair (33.67±21% in Basdiot) in the shallow zones in 2013. The 2013 survey results show that LHC in the majority of the MPAs decreased in 2013, of which, several declines were significant. The same decreasing pattern was also observed in the shallow areas. Anecdotal survey evidence suggests that some of the observed decrease in LHC in most of the sites may have been due to the magnitude 6.7 earthquake on February 6, 2012 wherein the Epicenter was between Moalboal and Guihulungan, Negros Oriental. This earthquake caused the sea level to recede and come back with strong waves crushing through the reef walls and damaging corals. Moreover, reef conditions were worsened by the typhoons that traversed through the Visayas at the end of 2012. Considering these factors, the decline in LHC in most sites surveyed is modest and the reefs monitored show a good level of resilience over time.

All reef fish density was highest in Pescador Island at 7387±2732 fish/500m2 followed by Basdiot (6102±3531 fish/500m2) and Saavedra (2928±1059 fish/500m2) while target fish density was highest in Basdiot (2142±2743 fish/500m2) followed by Saavedra (417±446 fish/500m2). Target fish density within MPAs where strict enforcement is present, appears to be improving overtime as compared to outside where heavy fishing pressure is evident. This is also illustrated by the higher species richness inside MPAs compared to the adjacent areas where little or no enforcement is being implemented. Target fish biomass has increased overtime inside the MPAs. A clear picture is presented of the benefits of well protected no-fishing areas as represented by the small MPAs in Moalboal and Badian by the increasing biomass of fish.

Moalboal and Badian Municipalities have been very active in coastal resource management since the establishment of Saavedra Marine Sanctuary and Zaragosa Island Fish Sanctuary in 1987 wherein they are two examples of the well managed small marine protected areas in the Philippines. However, there are still the challenges of sustaining the efforts to enforce the law against illegal activities, strengthen MPA management bodies in other MPAs and the ever growing volume of tourism. Recommendations to further enhance conservation of the area are made herein.