The Saving Philippine Reefs Project of the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc. assessed and updated the coral reef condition at selected sites in Mabini-Tingloy, Batangas in March 2011. Information on the changes in coral cover, other substratum, fish fauna, and invertebrates, possible causes of coral damage over time, patterns and trends exhibited and reef health is provided. Recommendations are made for improved conservation and management of coral reefs to the Mabini-Tingloy management bodies, stakeholders, local government units and line agencies working in the area.
Live hard coral (LHC) in all sites surveyed ranged from poor to good in 2011(14.6% to 62%). No significant change in LHC cover were observed in most of the sites except for Sombrero Is. and Sepoc Point Reef. LHC increased in Sombrero Is. from 2005 to 2011 from 31.3% to 38.8% while the opposite pattern was observed in Sepoc Point Reef which can primarily be attributed to impact of storm waves. Nevertheless, the status quo in LHC cover in the majority of the sites and especially inside MPA boundaries indicates positive management in the area.
Reef fish density for all species in most sites is in moderate condition. Only Sombrero Is. recorded high density in 2011 for all species (2668/500m2). Four out of nine sites surveyed revealed a decrease in all reef fish density over the years. The same decreasing pattern was seen for all reef species diversity wherein only Arthur’s rock, Cathedral reef and White sand reef showed no change in 2011 in reef species richness. On the other hand, target fish density and species diversity especially inside marine reserves showed an increasing trend over the years. Fish biomass in most of the sites also showed an increasing trend from 2005 to 2011.
- Need to enhance management efforts of Cathedral Rock and Arthur’s Rock;
- Sombrero Is. should be protected as a no- fishing marine sanctuary;
- Continued education and information campaigns on coastal resource management and proper use of marine sanctuaries for dive resorts, dive guides and tourists;
- Anchor buoys are urgently needed in Layag-Layag, Sombrero Is. and Sepoc Point reefs;
- More no-take sanctuaries are needed to provide benefits for heavily fished areas; and
- Efforts to renew coordination between Tingloy and Mabini municipalities are needed to improve the efficiency of enforcement in the larger Mabini- Tingloy area.