Sarangani Bay recently highlighted its coastal and marine conservation efforts during the commemoration of its 24th year as a Protected Seascape.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 12, in collaboration with the Protected Area Management Board, launched the first-ever Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) Week on March 1-5.
Held in General Santos City and various parts of Sarangani province, the weeklong observance consisted of mall exhibits of marine species and simultaneous bay-wide cleanups participated in by the 68 barangays as well as business and tourism establishments along the bay’s coast.
A dive safari and underwater photography contest held at Maitum, Kiamba, and Maasim towns showcased Sarangani’s emerging scuba diving sites. Topping the three-day photo tilt were Bretch Garcinez of General Santos City and East Pardillo of Davao City who won the wide and macro-categories, respectively.
Fringe activities included a three-day environmental forum and enforcement summit, trash to art, mass dance and logo making competitions, and the search for the Ambassadress of SBPS.
The bay was declared a Protected Seascape by former president Fidel Ramos under Proclamation No. 756 in 1996, covering an area of 215,950 hectares.
It was also listed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a Key Marine Biodiversity Area, with coral resources covering 2,293 hectares, 60 important live hard coral genera, 411 reef species, and 11 species of seagrass.
The DENR has also monitored various dolphin species, killer whales, dwarf, and pygmy sperm whales in the bay, attesting to its rich biodiversity.
According to the local government, the SBPS Protected Area Management Board passed a resolution declaring March 5 as the annual SBPS Day and directing local government units, major stakeholders, and partner organizations to take part in the observance.
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