The Institute of Marine Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS-IMFO), UP Visayas conducted a training on the assessment of coral reefs in the Province of Antique last May 24-26, 2023.
Barangay officials from the coastal communities of Anini-y, members of fisherfolk associations, representatives from the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC) and two members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Anini-y attended the three-day training held at Sira-an Hot Spring, Anini-y, Antique.
The training aimed to educate and enhance the capacity of the stakeholders in Nogas Island, a marine sanctuary located in Anini-y, on the assessment of marine habitat to promote effective and science-based management of the island.
The undertaking further aspired to strengthen the partnership between government institutions, the private sector, and the academe to protect and sustain the vulnerable marine habitats.
The training was the first of the five-part training titled “Training on Marine Habitat Assessment” (ToMHA). ToMHA is assessment training on coral reefs, seagrass beds, seaweed meadows, benthic zone, and mangrove forests.
The project team conducted lectures on the ecology of coral reefs, identification of marine macro invertebrates found in the coral reef ecosystems, and survey method in coral reef assessment. Asst. Prof. Jerry Ian Leonida and Dr. Cristy Acabado gave the lectures as the resource persons. They also trained the participants in conducting coral reef assessment on Nogas Island. For the first time, the participants dived through the waters of Nogas Island to gather data and look into the status of the coral reefs surrounding it.
On the last day of the training, the participants were taught how to process and analyze the data that they have collected.
Based on the results of the assessment, the participants were able to understand the causes and effects of the decline of the coral reefs.
Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Member for Fisheries Rollyza Nueva Pollicar, one of the participants in the training, encouraged the cooperation of the coastal communities in protecting the marine habitats especially around Nogas Island so that they will have more fish to catch in the future.
Nogas Island is a marine protected area rich in biodiversity and ideal mangrove-seagrass-coral reef continuum. The uninhabited place has been one of the regular sites for field trips and research studies of undergraduate and graduate students of IMFO. ToMHA was conceptualized based on the training needs assessment that the Institute conducted with the Anini-y local government unit and stakeholders for the management of Nogas Island.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, UPV funded the project. (With reports from IMFO)