Philippines’ rare double barrier reef in Bohol discovered

TUBIGON, Bohol – The campaign for the no-nonsense conservation of the Danajon Double Barrier Reef (DDBR) got the much-needed boost with the underwater shoots of different sites in the area by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) in coordination with the Project Seahorse Foundation (PSF).
The more-than-a-week shoot underwater off the Bilangbilangan, Batasan, Cuaming, islands off the Inabanga and Buenavista town and the northern part was put together “to launch a conservation campaign on behalf of a rare and threatened double-barrier coral reef” to be able to conserve the unique marine ecosystem — one of only six double-barrier reefs in the world, and the only one in southeast Asia.

“Making this project even more powerful is our newest partner networks, which is establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded fishing nets that will improve the livelihood of local fishers while providing an innovative source of recycled materials for sustainably manufactured carpet tiles. For iLCP, there is a great synergy in this project, as Net-Works’ triple bottom line approach to conservation (securing environmental, economic and social benefits) fits well with our mission to further environmental and cultural conservation,” said the ILCP.
As photographer Luciano Candisani of Brazil explains in a video about the project, “By getting this story out into the world, we hope to inspire new environmental protections for Danajon Bank,” he said in their website.
ILCP fellow photographer Thomas P. Peschak of South Africa said in a huddle with his fellow photographers that he will try to get the photographs they have taken in Danajon come out in the National Geographic and Time magazine.
“Beginning in June, photographs from Danajon Bank will be shown in public exhibits at aquariums in Chicago, Hong Kong, Manila and London. iLCP and Project Seahorse will also publish a hardcover book about Expedition Danajon Bank. Also, our photographers will share stories from the expedition in National Geographic News Watch and other media outlets. All of these communications efforts will bring increased world attention to this global marine treasure in need of protection.”
Photographers Peschak and Candisani, who is a Brazilian, were accompanied by fellow photographers Claudio Contreras Koob of Mexico and Michael Ready of the US, along with Tyler Stiem of Canada and Dr. Nick Hill of United Kingdom.
Surveys on fish stock in the island of Bilangbilangan and nearby islands off this town was also conducted by Project Seahorse volunteers in the persons of Polly Marshall and Hannah Rawnsley, both of London, and Carissa Shipman of U.S.A. and their counterpart executive director Angelie Nellas, Hazel Panes, Myrtle Paquibo and Rosemarie Apurado and other volunteers of the PSF.
The ILCP and PSF are slated to face the media in a press conference on Monday (April 15) to present what they have undertaken from the DDBR area, Nellas said.
The iLCP, a network of some of the world’s very best photographers, was established during the 8th World Wilderness Congress in Alaska, October 2005.
Working with leading scientists, policy makers, governmental leaders and conservation groups, the ILCP translates conservation science into compelling visual messages.
Bohol officials led by Governor Edgar Chatto and his counterparts of the provinces Cebu, Leyte and Southern Leyte and representatives of national government agencies and non-government organizations (NGO) have committed to continue the concerted efforts to save and preserve the reef by forging on May 18, 2012 the Memorandum of Agreement that virtually creates and governs the Danajon Double Barrier Reef Management Council, now being chaired by Chatto.
The Danajon Bank or Double Barrier Reef, located off northern Bohol Island, is the only double barrier reef in the Philippines and is 1 of only 3 such sites in the Indo-Pacific. The reef is spread across almost 130 kms and consists of 3 large reefs.
In Bohol, it covers the coastal towns of Bien-Unido, Buenavista, Calape, Clarin, Inabanga, Getafe, Pres. CPG, Talaibon, Trinidad, Tubigon, and Ubay.
Caubyan is the largest reef covering about 143 square kilometers. There are 5 smaller reefs in the northern outer region and 1 large reef, Calitubas, in the inner region.
The overall area of the Danajon Bank is 272 square kilometers with an aggregate coastline of 699 kilometers including 40 islands. The Danajon Bank makes up over 1% of the total area of coral reef of the Philippines (estimated at 27,000 square kilometers).
Sixteen municipalities and 1 city include the Danajon Bank within their area of jurisdiction. This encompasses 4 provinces and two regions.
In Region 7, 11 municipalities belong to Bohol and two to Cebu.
In Region 8, four municipalities belong to Leyte and one city to Southern Leyte. The shoreline of these municipalities and city covers 699 kilometers.
Its rich marine resources include 40 islands/islets; 5,250 hectares of mangroves; more than 500 hectares of seagrass; 1,786 has. of man-made mangrove forest; 211 hard coral species (205 of which are coral reef-building species); 6 seagrass species out of 16 found in the country; and four species of seahorse out of the seven which thrive in the country is found in Danajon.

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