Daet, Camarines Norte (PNA) — Camarines Norte has intensified its Mangrove Rehabilitation Project by planting at least 50,000 new propagules in every 10 hectares of local mangrove area yearly.
Being implemented by the Fisheries Development Division of the office of the provincial agriculturist based at this provincial capital, the project utilizes the cooperation of several fisherfolk organizations in the province.
Under the project, regular planting activities are being conducted using planting materials sourced from existing mangrove sites in the province that are under the care and stewardship of these organizations.
Among the recent planting activities were conducted in Barangays Camagsaan and Pinagtigasan in the towns of Capalonga and Calaguas island, Vinzons, respectively, involving around 72,000 mangrove seedlings and two fisherfolk organizations, senior provincial agriculturist Danilo Guevarra said.
One of these organizations is the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamayanan ng Pinagtigasan (Association of United Community of Pinagtigasan), which spearheaded the planting activity in Calaguas Island where 36,000 mangrove seedlings were planted in some eight hectares along its coastlines.
The other one, Guevarra said, is the Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Camagsaan (Association of Small Fishermen of Camagsaan), which planted another 36,000 seedlings on the mangrove area in the village to revitalize the local breeding ground of marine life.
“Apart from providing breeding grounds for crustaceans and fishes, these mangrove forests that we are trying to revitalize will also serve as a buffer zone to shield the villages from typhoons and prevent landslides,” he stressed.
Most of the coastal barangays of Camarines Norte are considered mangrove areas. Since 1995, the provincial government, through the OPAg-FDD, has been maintaining the over 180-hectare mangrove plantation teeming with about one million trees within these villages.
“We distribute yearly thousands of mangrove seedlings to the province’s coastal areas and we are impressed by the results, which show 70-percent survival rate,” Guevarra said.
The OPAg has also been educating coastal villages on the growing, maintenance, protection and the importance of mangrove trees to the ecological community and marine life whose benefits redound to the local fisherfolk, he added.
Organized groups of villagers and fisherfolk have also volunteered as guardians of the mangrove forest to protect full-grown trees from being harvested by firewood gatherers.
These groups of volunteers are also deputized enforcers of laws that protect coastal environment.
Mangroves are extraordinary rich habitat serving as life support systems to about 75 percent of fish species caught in the area as well as to undetermined numbers of crustaceans and wildlife, Guevarra explained.
“They are critical spawning, nursery, feeding and transient shelter areas to hundreds of fish species, crustaceans and invertebrates and support an abundant and productive marine life. It is under this importance that the provincial government put in place the MRP to grow more trees and protect those that are existing,” he said.
When undisturbed, Guevarra said mangroves can live up to 100 years and the more it mature, the more it becomes helpful to the marine ecological system.