DAVAO

Hijo Estate coastline now a Marine Protected Area

DAVAO. The MOA signing was held at the Hijo Estate with HRC Chief-Executive-Officer Rosanna Tuason Fores, Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon and Director Anthony Sale of Department of Science and Technology-Davao Region. (HRC Photo)

TO PROTECT and preserve the rich marine biodiversity within its coastline, the Hijo Resources Corporation (HRC) and the local government unit (LGU) of Tagum City, through its City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) declaring the Hijo Estate coastline as a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The Hijo Estate coastline, located in Barangay Madaum, Tagum City, is part of the Davao Gulf.

The MOA, which was signed on October 27, 2020, signifies the shared responsibility of both parties in actively protecting and conserving the marine life nesting in the Hijo coastline. The collaboration also involved the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The Hijo Estate coastline and Davao Gulf, as a whole, is home to 10 of the 27 Philippine whale species. It is also an important habitat of whale sharks and dugongs, as well as nesting sites of three turtle species, including the rare leatherback turtle, and has a high occurrence of plankton and fish larvae that are important elements of the food chain. All of these established, it is but just to consider the area as a Marine Biodiversity Hotspot.

The recent agreement is aligned with their vision “to nurture nature today to benefit the generations of tomorrow.”

Cementing HRC’s commitment to the environment is its sustainability arm - The Trinity Project. Led by HRC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rosanna Tuason Fores and Director for Sustainability Harry Morris, the project aims to rejuvenate corals, seagrass and mangroves in the Davao Gulf, which benefits directly the communities surrounding it.

According to Morris, they are working on repairing first the three important marine elements in the Davao Gulf (corals, seagrass, mangroves), then enhance and protect the existing marine life.

One of the ways to repair and enhance the marine elements is the deployment of artificial reef structures with attached coral fragments to attract different marine species that were once abundant in the area. Seagrass planting on the ocean floor and mangrove planting in the shoreline were also conducted.

Since its start in 2015, different fish species have returned and seagrass meadows have grown and will become a safe environment for dugongs. In the long run, this will create a thriving marine ecosystem with a visible increase in biodiversity, establish an eco-tourism hotspot and provide a sustainable aquaculture environment.

Through their continuous efforts, The Trinity Project hopes to reverse the harsh effects of erosion currently happening in the Hijo coastline due to industrial pollution that took place decades before. The Trinity Projects also hopes to fulfill their vision of sustaining and conserving the incredible biodiversity of the Davao Gulf for the next generations to enjoy. (With PR)


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