Summary Field Report Saving Philippine Reefs Coral Reef Monitoring Expedition to Calamianes Islands, Palawan, Philippines April 17 – 25, 2016
TitleSummary Field Report Saving Philippine Reefs Coral Reef Monitoring Expedition to Calamianes Islands, Palawan, Philippines April 17 – 25, 2016
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWhite AT, Apurado J, Sabonsolin A, Bollozos CJane, Neri FJoyce
Keywordscoral reefs, MPA, SPR
Abstract

The Saving Philippine Reefs (SPR) Expedition, initiated in the early 1980s by Dr. Alan White and colleagues, is a reef monitoring expedition that has collected essential information on coral reefs and fish health from different Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Philippines for use in improving their management. Since 1992, the SPR project has covered some areas in the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Bohol, Batangas, Palawan, and Camiguin.

One of these sites is located in the diverse and abundant reefs of Calamianes Islands in the municipalities of Coron, Culion, and Busuanga in the province of Palawan, which the SPR team assessed in 2006. The team revisited the area in 2016 to reassess reef status after 10 years to determine how the coral reefs were faring with increasing conservation efforts and in light of Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Super Typhoon Yolanda) which hit the area in 2013. The expedition base was still in the Sangat Island Reserve in the northern part of the Calamianes Islands, 2 kilometers off the coast of Busuanga. As mentioned in the 2006 SPR report, the resort on the reserve island approaches eco-tourism by providing a simple, yet elegant setting of accommodations and amenities to guests looking for natural, relaxing, and stress-free vacations. Many of their own employees belong to the local Tagbanua tribe who continue to retain their distinctive culture and add to the pristine beauty of the undeveloped character of the region that consists of their ancestral tribal lands.

This year’s reef monitoring expedition determined the change in status of coral reef health in the vicinity of Coron, Palawan. The monitoring data collected is used in comparison to baseline data collected in 2006 as the basis in future monitoring of the status of coral reef using similar methods that the team has been using in various dive sites. The expedition results will support the management efforts of the Sangat Reserve and other marine protected areas in the Coron and Busuanga Islands and indicate their effectiveness of protection from illegal fishing and improper tourism activities in the area