Saving Philippine Reefs: Coral Reef Monitoring Expedition to Camiguin Island, Philippines
TitleSaving Philippine Reefs: Coral Reef Monitoring Expedition to Camiguin Island, Philippines
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWhite AT, Apurado J, Tesch S, Dacal D, Sabonsolin A, White E
Pagination98
Keywordscoral reefs, MPA, SPR
Abstract

Due to its volcanic history, Camiguin Island is one of the most fertile and lush islands in the Philippines that also boasts a treasury of marine resources. With 31 locally declared marine protected areas (MPAs), and more in the process of being planned, Camiguin Province has shown good leadership and initiative over the past five years in its marine conservation efforts. Already it is becoming a prime tourist destination for foreigners and local tourists alike, with its main attractions ranging from its coral reefs to
historical points of interest.

This summary field report analyzes the condition of benthic and fish fauna at ten MPAs in Camiguin Island. Overall, results in benthic cover varied among sites with the highest percentage live hard coral (LHC) recorded at Balite Marine Sanctuary, Sagay (60.6%) in the shallow reef and 72.3% for the deep coral reef. Much of the damage in some of the sites can be attributed to Typhoon Pablo (or Typhoon Bopha) that swept through the region in 2012.

Fish biomass was low in all the areas, ranging from Very Poor to Poor based on standard measures established for the Philippines. The highest fish biomass recorded was in Mantigue Island, Mahinog at 3.1 kg/500m 2. This was also true for fish densities and fish species richness in the study sites of this expedition where numbers rated Very Poor to Poor. The area with highest target fish density was South Poblacion with 208.7 fish/500m2 and it also had the highest all reef fish density with 1,378.7 fish/500m2.
The area with highest target fish species richness was Mantigue Island with 17 species/500m2 and it also had the highest all reef fish species richness with 40 species/500m2. A major factor that contributes to the low biomass, low fish densities and low fish species richness is likely to be the lack of enforcement of
rules and regulations in some of the MPAs so that fishing is still to be occurring. Another contributing factor is the relatively small size of most of the MPAs. No large marine life was observed in the area
except for a few sea turtles in some of the sites. The number of butterflyfish species observed overall totaled 30.

It is recommended by the research team that some of the sites consider increasing their MPA area size to cover more marine habitats (Balite, Cabuan, and Mantigue Island core zone). Further, some sites need marker buoys to delineate MPA boundaries, a feature that is important for visitors and fishers alike
(Alangilan and Kabiling-­‐Tupsan). Many sites also needed mooring buoys so that visiting boats can moor and avoid dropping anchors and damaging the coral substrate (Alangilan, Lawigan, and Kabiling-­‐Tupsan).
Although some sites are well managed, others still need more visible patrolling and law enforcement to lessen illegal fishing and other violations. In White Island, there is a need to reconsider where to place the core zone of the MPA where the coral habitat is richer and in consideration of the downstream sink for fish and other larvae.

Overall, it is important for current management groups to maintain and improve current management efforts in Camiguin MPAs where they are already feeling the pressure of tourism and overfishing.