THE water quality of the 7,558-hectare Masinloc Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape (MOBPLS) in the towns of Masinloc and Palauig in Zambales has passed the water quality parameters of containing acceptable levels of ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, total dissolved solids, and total suspended solids.
Latest reports of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Central Luzon stated that this marine protected area (MPA) sustains its quality standards of water classification for protected waters and remains safe for recreation activities.
Central Luzon DENR Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said the average fecal coliform level of the MOBPLS was 1.8 Most Probable Number (MPN)/100 ml, which was close to the minimum standard level of 1.1 MPN/100 ml.
"To improve the fecal coliform level in this MPA, the DENR regularly conducts coastal cleanup activities and strictly monitors the compliance of fish cage operators to standard stocking density," he said.
He said information, education, and communication (IEC) programs were also intensified to increase public awareness on the importance of marine resources and at the same time solicit community support for the protection of coastal ecosystems.
This Month of the Ocean, the DENR continues to urge the public to protect the major water bodies in Central Luzon, including the MOBPLS in Zambales.
MOBPLS is the first and only marine protected area in Central Luzon under the Expanded National Protected Area System (E-Nipas) law or Republic Act 11038 of 2018.
This marine ecosystem is home to rich and unique biodiversity including the hybrid mangrove Rhizophora x lamarckii, giant clam, mesophotic corals, large fishes, and the threatened blue-spotted rabbitfish.
It is also the source of food and livelihood to coastal communities in Zambales.