Albay town fishers act as sea wardens of Lagonoy Gulf

Lagonoy Gulf --- scenic and rich in marine resources.

TIWI, Albay Nov. 1 (PNA) -- Marjun Cuya, 31, a fisherman in Barangay Baybay here, is one of the wardens of the sea in this town, watching over Lagonoy Gulf to protect and preserve its endangered marine resources.

Cuya and his family members live in the coastline of Baybay, whose main source of livelihood depends on the sea.

He and his two brothers, along with other fishermen in this town, have banded together to protect the Lagonoy Gulf, considered as gem here by the fishers owing to its rich fishing grounds.

Cuya was acclaimed by local government of Tiwi for his remarkable deeds in saving and protecting endangered marine species like sea turtles.

For five years now, he he has been able to catch and save five sea turtles.

His newest catch was the green sea turtle measuring 72 by 67 centimeters while fishing atLagonoy Gulf.

He turned it over to the Municipal Agriculture Office led by Leonila U. Coralde for tagging.

The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) -- also known as the green turtle, black turtle, or Pacific green turtle -- is a large sea turtle of the family Chelonidae.

Coralde said at least 200 sea turtles with different varieties have been caught by fishers in Tiwi and turned over to their office for tagging.

“Our fishermen are our partners in keeping out seas healthy. They are the wardens of the seas who protect our marine resources through relentless education,” she said.

The Philippine Geothermal Production Co. (PGPC) and the local government unit (LGU) of Tiwi are working closely to educate the fishermen and local communities regarding the ecological and biodiversity protection here.

As part of its education drive, the PGPC, LGU and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources recently conducted the “Run for the Sea Turtle” as part of the Fish Conservation Week celebration that aimed to advocate for the conservation and protection of the sea turtles in the country.

After the run, they unleashed a green sea turtle, measuring 46 cm by 42 cm, back to the sea.

Studies show that sea turtle can survive even galactic phenomenon for 150 million years.

Unfortunately, they are yet to survive the greed of men who in just last three decades cut all the seven remaining species to near extinction, poaching and illegal trading, exquisite dishes, illegal and over-fishing, development aggression on beaches and shore lands, denudation of forests, unhealthy waste disposal, carbon emission and industrial pollution.

Erwin Vargas, PGPC spokesman, said "the run for the sea turtles is a physical expression of the locals and various stakeholders’ desire and struggle to conserve and protect our ecological resources in land, coasts and seas."

“This is our challenge to awaken the masses to nurture the environment and marine resources,” he said.

The advocacy fun run was participated by the residents, PGPC, LGU, BFAR, and other stakeholders in all ages fit to run.

The run for sea turtles and environmental protection programs started at the municipal plaza of this town passing through the scenic trails down to the coastal village of Baybay.

Vargas said that event this year was the second and aimed to set up an annual celebration of environmental advocates in the town of Tiwi and the province of Albay with passion for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The youngest runner for saving the sea turtle was eight-year-old Rizza Dacoco while the oldest was Avelino Lovendorial, 66 years old.

Meanwhile, as the people of Tiwi town in Albay ran to save sea turtles, three children died after eating sea turtle meat in Irosin town in Sorsogon province.

Siblings Juvelyn, 1 year and six months; Jacob, 3; and Jose Bernando, 5 -- all surnamed Alon -- died of food poisoning after eating turtle meat that their parents bought from an itinerant peddler at Barangay Liang, Irosin, Sorsogon.

Police report said that first to suffer stomach pain and vomiting was Juvelyn, who was rushed to the Irosin District Hospital but did not reach the hospital alive.

Jacob and Jose Bernando experienced the same complaint of Juvelyn and were rushed to the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital, but Jacob died along the way while Jose Bernando expired after several hours.

Dr. Maxima Gonzales said the cause of the deaths of the siblings was food poisoning due to the turtle meat they ate.

Police report here said the incident took place about 10:30 a.m. the other Sunday after their father, Pio, and mother, Theresa, served the cooked turtle meat that they had earlier bought from a certain Norman Gacias, a fish vendor.(PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/PJN