Bay watch tower to safeguard marine protected areas in San Fernando City

SAN FERNANDO, La Union — The city government, under Mayor Hermenegildo Gualberto, through its City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), formally opened a newly-installed bay watch tower along the coast of Barangay Lingsat here on Tuesday.

This aims to support the efforts of the city to maintain marine protected areas in several coastal areas such as the villages of Canaoay and Poro Point, known havens for sea urchins, sea cucumbers, “siganid” fish varieties like “barangan,” “padas” and “malaga,” and seaweeds to be turned into gelatin and “agar-agar” like the “aragan” and other seaweed food products like “lato,” “pupulo” “kulot-kulot” and “barusbos.”

Called Lingsat Marine Protected Area (LMPA) watch tower, it was funded by the city government and the proceeds of Barangay Lingsat fund raising from years 2014 to 2015 amounting to Php 700,000.

The city also installed a watchtower in 2000 for the conservation of corals in the 30-hectare Kasay Marine Sanctuary in the coastal village of Canaoay.

Meanwhile, the city government allocated a Php 500,000 assistance fund this year to develop the LMPA management plan including the provision of manpower, equipment, etc.,

Under the plan, fishermen were given allowable areas within which to fish with the use of only hook, pole and line within the 70-hectare buffer zone which was designated as reserve area, and the core zone area to be designated only for watching and educational activities.

LMPA was began in 2005 in response to the request of barangay for the establishment of a protected area to sustain livelihood of coastal villagers and protect the marine ecosystem.

It was approved in the year 2012 as a permanent program under City Ordinance 2012-03. William Jun Garcia and Erwin Beleo/