Manila Bay was identified by the BFAR as a sardine spawning area.
Environmentalists urge protection for Manila Bay after new sardine discovery
Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
The discovery of a new sardine species, Sardinella pacifica, so far only found in Philippines water has reactivated claims from the environmental organisation Oceana to preserve the wealthy ecosystem in Manila Bay.
The discovery was the result of research carried out by Japanese taxonomists HarutakaHata and Hiroyuki Motomura, who collected samples from Manila Bay, Quezon, Sorsogon, and Samar that revealed distinct characteristics from other sardine species.
Map of Manila Bay, Philippines
“We appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to stop all reclamation projects lined up in Manila Bay,” said Gloria Estenzo Ramos, vice president of Oceana in the Philippines.
“This can be the legacy of your administration―that you were able to save the rich ecosystem of Manila Bay that carries national and natural heritage significance, especially with the discovery of this new sardine species in Philippine waters,” the environmentalist pointed out.
Manila Bay was identified by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as a spawning area of sardines and is still one of the main fishing grounds of artisanal fishermen who depend on the sea for their livelihood.
“Instead of dumping and filling our seas that bury and destroy mangroves, seagrass beds, corals and other fisheries habitats, let’s collectively save and protect these from destruction because of so-called “development” projects,” Ramos said.
“More importantly, let’s help our artisanal fishermen earn a decent livelihood to feed their families from our rich marine resources that are known all over the world,” Ramos stated.
Holotype of Sardinella pacifica sp. n., BMNH 19220.127.116.11, 105.1 mm SL, Manila Bay, Luzon Island, Philippines.(Photo: Harutaka Hata1, Hiroyuki Motomura/researchgate.net)
Oceana appealed to Duterte to review and assess the projects submitted to the Philippine Reclamation Authority that would result in irreversible damage to the marine habitats.
Oceana is co-organizing with Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, and Center for Environmental Concerns a People’s Summit on Reclamation on March 26 to 27.
The summit will discuss scientific studies and legal review with the government, academe, scientists and legal experts, non-government organizations and the urban poor and coastal communities in Manila Bay.