Lagonoy Gulf found rich in marine biodiversity

Lagonoy Gulf with Mt. Mayon and Mt. Isarog in the background. (Photo from Wikipedia)

BAYBAY, Tiwi, Albay, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- The waters off this geothermal-rich town, a first-class municipality in Albay, is rich in marine biodiversity and aquatic resources, officials here said.

Tiwi's coastline covers 17 kilometers and the joint efforts of the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, local government unit of Tiwi and Philippine Geothermal Production Co. and other partners have developed the biodiversity of Lagonoy Gulf.

MFARMC head Wilfredo Chavenia said this is an indicator that Tiwi's coastal waters have abundant clean water and that more sea turtles thrive underwater to look for food such as sea grasses and jelly fish.

On 0ct. 21, Chavenia said a 72-cm-by-67-cm big green sea turtle was accidentally caught by a fisherman along Tiwi's coastline.

The following day, Oct. 22, a small green turtle, measuring 46 cm by 42 cm, was also rescued.

"The fishermen unintentionally caught the green sea turtles using their net that had entangled them and turned them over to Municipal Agriculture Office for tagging and releasing back to the sea because they knew that these are endangered species. And as a reward, the office gave them Php500 for each turtle," Leonila V. Coralde, Tiwi agriculturist, told the Philippines News Agency.

The two sea turtles were turned over to the EcoStar Coastal and Fishery Learning Resource Center for proper tagging and releasing back to the sea on October 24.

Since 2010, more or less 200 sea turtles have been rescued by fishermen and the number has been continuously increasing each year.

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead turtle (Carretta aarretta) and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) are the various kinds of turtle found in Lagonoy Gulf.

"Once you see or have accidentally caught any sea turtle, you must turn it over to the proper authority for tagging and releasing back to the sea, for these are critically endangered and should be protected," Coralde reminded villagers, especially fishermen. (PNA) FPV/FGS/JB/CBD