Cops, divers begin clean-up drive to save corals in Gingoog coastal village

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/05:17:37pm 04/08/2021


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Police officers and civilian divers prepare to dive during a clean-up campaign to remove fishing nets that got stuck on the sea bed destroying the corals and other marine life on Puntod Shoal, Barangay San Juan, Gingoog City. The “Scubasurero” project is


DIVING enthusiasts, led by police officers, have began removing fishing nets that got stuck at the bottom of the sea causing the destruction of corals in Puntod Shoal, Barangay San Juan, Gingoog City.

Cops, divers begin clean-up drive to save corals in Gingoog coastal village

By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM

DIVING enthusiasts, led by police officers, have began removing fishing nets that got stuck at the bottom of the sea causing the destruction of corals in Puntod Shoal, Barangay San Juan, Gingoog City.

Lt. Col. Ariel Pontillas, Gingoog City police chief, who initiated the initiative, said the clean-up of the sea bed is ongoing as they will be holding diving sessions in the coming days.

“This is an ongoing activity. We still have a lot of ground to cover,” Pontillas said in a phone interview Tuesday, March 30.

He said the shoal is about three hectares wide with most of the area now covered in fishing nets from years of illegal practices by the local fisherfolk.

In the three diving sessions that were conducted, he said they were able to remove more than 10 kilos of entangled fishing nets.

“We want to clear the area of nets to revive the corals in the shoal,” Pontillas said.

One of the sea creatures that was retrieved was a crab that was covered with corals.

Brig. Gen. Rolando Anduyan, Phil. National Police-10 regional director, said the crab has probably mutated due to the time that it was trapped in the colony or group of corals.

Anduyan, who’s also a diving enthusiast, has emphasized the police’s role in ensuring that illegal fishing practices will be stopped in the region’s coastal areas.

“We are training police officers in scuba diving so they could help in guarding the seas from unlawful fishing methods,” he said.

City councilor Judeline Bernaldez, chair of the Gingoog city tourism committee, said a local ordinance that would protect Puntod Shoal from destruction and to make it as a diving spot is nearing approval at the local legislature.

Elvin Restituto, Gingoog city administrative officer, said the cleaning of the shoal is one way of promoting tourism as well as attracting divers.

“Scuba diving is a hobby, but it can also contribute to environmental protection,” Restituto said.

Pontillas said they will also get in touch with other diver groups in the region to help them in the clean-up campaign.


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