Build ‘fish condos’ to help rehabilitate reefs, says NGO

IT has been a long wait, but it is still is worth the advocacy I began to protect the Visayan Sea from all forms of destructive activities which is now gaining more serious support from government,” says Tony Oposa, an internationally-acclaimed environmental lawyer and prime mover of the School of the Sea and Earth Advocates (SEA) in Bantayan Island.

Referring to the comprehensive seaborne operations that the present administration is seriously undertaking through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to implement the closed season for herring and mackerel in the Visayan Sea beginning November 15 this year to March 15, 2013, Oposa said that he would provide his all out support to the said undertaking.

Oposa joined hands with the BFAR, together with other law enforcement agencies, local government heads, commercial fishing operators and other stakeholders during the send-off ceremony at Sta. Fe Port in the said fishing island recently.

“I urge our stakeholders to support this important management measure to ensure the sustainable production of sardines and mackerel in our seas,” he said during the ceremony. He added that because of rampant dynamite and cyanide fishing, there is not a single reef in the Bantayan Island that is in good condition.

“Building ‘fish condos’ can help in rehabilitating our seas, and I am happy that our local commercial fishers expressed interest in supporting this activity”, he added.

Oposa presented the hand-built “fish condo” to BFAR director Atty. Asis Perez and to some group of stakeholders who visited his School of the Sea and Earth Advocates (SEA) in Brgy. Ocoy in Sta. Fe hours before the send-off ceremony.

The “fish condo” constructed from a concreted net-covered bamboo frame is a structure where gravid fish could lay their eggs. It can also provide refuge for small fishes as marine plants and other organisms could attach and grow in the artificial shelter.

Oposa said that the materials used in the fish shelter closely approximates that of the coral reef which is made mostly from the calcium carbonate secretions of tiny marine animals commonly referred as corals. The concrete cast, in turn, is made from three-fourths calcium-rich limestones combined with one-fourth part concrete and shredded plastic wraps. He added that depending on the size, the fish condo could be build for a minimum of P150.00 a piece.

Perez noted the simplicity and inexpensive way of building the fish shelter. He recommended that a study should be immediately conducted to ensure that the materials used are environmentally safe for the fish and other aquatic life underwater.

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