New species of sardines found in Manila Bay; Oceana calls to stop reclamation in the area
MANILA, Philippines – Manila Bay’s ecosystem is not dying. In fact, a new sardine species, Sardinella pacifica, has been discovered in Manila Bay waters and in other parts of the country.
According to a peer-reviewed journal article, Japanese taxonomists Harutaka Hata and Hiroyuki Motomura collected samples from Manila Bay, Quezon, Sorsogon, and Samar and these revealed distinct characteristics from other sardine species, concluding a new species of sardines that are currently found only in the Philippines.
“We appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to stop all reclamation projects lined up in Manila Bay. This can be the legacy of your administration – that you were able to save the rich ecosystem of Manila Bay that carries national and natural heritage significance, especially with the discovery of this new sardine species in the Philippine waters,” said Atty. Gloria Estenzo, Vice President of Oceana in the Philippines.
Manila Bay was identified by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as a spawning area of sardines and is still one of the main fishing grounds of artisanal fisherfolk who depend on the sea for their livelihood. Sardines is on top of the kinds of fish caught in the area.
“Instead of dumping and filling our seas that bury and destroy mangroves, sea grass beds, corals and other fisheries habitats, let’s collectively save and protect these from destruction because of so-called “development” projects. More importantly, let’s help our artisanal fisherfolk earn decent livelihood to feed their families from our rich marine resources that are known all over the world,” said Ramos.
Oceana appeals to the President to review and assess the projects submitted to the Philippine Reclamation Authority that will result in irreversible damage to our marine habitats.
According to Ramos, irreparable destruction in Manila Bay will leave the artisanal fisherfolk almost without income because of low or no catch, and their families hungry and displaced.
“These projects violate our Constitutional right to balanced and healthful ecology, as well as our fisheries and environmental laws. We are hoping that our government will listen to the people. They will be facing even more harm and danger than they are experiencing now as consequences of flooding, subsidence of our coastal communities and the climate crisis,” Ramos added.
Oceana is co-organizing with Kalikasan Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), and Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) a People’s Summit on Reclamation on March 26-27, 2019. The summit will discuss scientific studies and legal review with the government, academe, scientists and legal experts, non-government organizations, and urban poor and coastal communities in Manila Bay.
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