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Mindanao Journalists Training on Environment Reporting 10 March 2012 El Bajada Hotel, Davao City
Hello, I·m Blogie!
Co-founder, Save Philippine Seas
± A national movement to raise awareness of issues facing our marine environment ± Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines
President, Davao Reef Divers Club
± A group of scuba divers who have been active in conservation efforts for nearly a decade
Citizen Journalist (a.k.a Blogger)
Present some issues that need attention. Impress upon news organizations that an Environment Beat is critically needed. Encourage journalists to seek out news stories that help build marine environment awareness.
Marine Environment Challenges
DAVAO GULF PROBLEMS
Plastic bags, foil wrappers, bottles, cans, old clothes, diapers, feminine pads, syringes«
± A scubasurero dive in Feb. 2012 collected 102kg of trash, mostly plastics.
´Out of sight, out of mindµ
± We have a bad habit of thinking the ocean is a bottomless garbage pit. It is not.
Industrial waste, agricultural run-off
Are we certain that these container vessels do not dispose of their garbage at sea?
´Just because you can·t see it, doesn·t mean it isn·t there.µ
Unsustainable Fishing Practices
Dynamite & cyanide fishing Intrusion into Marine Protected Areas Shark fishing & finning Overfishing Fish stock depletion
± Catching of immature fish. ± Catching of endangered species, such as giant clam, giant triton. ± Bycatch problem.
These fishing boats are supposed to stay clear of coral reefs. So why are they often seen operating close to shore?
Marine Habitat Destruction
Chiefly, the killing of coral communities Caused by:
± Climate change, ocean acidification ± Pollution ± Fish cages & ghost nets ± Crown-of-thorns sea star ± Boat anchors ± Irresponsible divers & beach-goers
Fish cage or ¶bobo·
Problem #1: Mesh is too fine, trapping small fish along with the big. Problem #2: These cages cause serious coral damage.
Discarded fishing net, the size of a basketball court, found on San Juan Reef, 30 September 2011. More have been found since. (I wrote about this here and here.)
Crown-of-thorns sea star
This is a voracious starfish that eat coral polyps. It can decimate coral communities in a matter of days. One of its natural predators, the giant triton, has been overfished from our waters.
Each time an anchor is dropped, coral are damaged, and marine life is threatened. Coral heads grow as slow as 1cm per year.
Caused by several factors, including ocean acidification, and increase in water temperature. Coral communities die as a result.
Marine Habitat Destruction
We are at the center of the Coral Triangle, an ecological area that is essential to our future food security. The unremitting decimation of coral cover will result in a loss of biodiversity. The effects are already being felt now«
Dearth of Education
Many of the problems facing our marine environment stem from lack of education.
± Traditional fishing communities probably have no idea of their impact on coral habitats. ± People are not aware of the growing concerns surrounding global warming. ± Very few people care, possibly due to a lack of sufficient knowledge.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Media can & should play a vital role in addressing marine environment problems:
± Education campaign ± Bringing issues to light ± Sustaining people·s interest in issues ± Getting politicians to put more weight on environment problems ± Echoing calls for conservation efforts
Newspapers should allot more column space, TV & radio more airtime to marine environment issues. Violators should be exposed on TV, in print and over the radio waves ² just as much as criminals are. Successes & ongoing conservation efforts should be talked about, too.
It·s a whole different world underwater!
THE BEAUTY OF OUR SEAS
Nudibranchs (Chromodoris annae)
There are 3,000+ species of nudibranchs. The sea is filled with wondrous creatures, a lot of which we still don·t fully understand.
Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti)
Marine life is precious. It deserves our protection. We need to let more people know about the beauty and importance of underwater flora & fauna.
Clown frogfish (Antennarius maculatus)
Some fish, like this one, will not swim away when approached, making them easy targets. In Davao and elsewhere, Badjao folk are known to eat them. These are very rare species. [Video]
Giant clam (Tridacna crocea)
Giant clam play a vital role in coral reefs: they filter sea water ² at a rate of hundreds of gallons per hour ² thereby keeping reefs healthy and viable.
A type of brain coral
The coral that you see are actually communities of thousands of animals. There are many species of reef-building coral, but it takes a very long time for them to grow.
Orange wire sea fan (Acanthogorgia sp.)
This is a coral ² an animal, not a plant. Marine life is extremely fascinating. It would be such a shame to lose them forever!
Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
The ¶pawikan· is an endangered species, and conservation efforts have not been very successful yet. Sea turtles live far longer than we do, but we pose a danger to their very existence. [Video]
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
The gentle giant of the oceans. This is a juvenile, spotted in Davao Gulf on 27 February 2012. Other sightings have been recorded. [Video]
Oliver ´Blogieµ Robillo www.ScubaDAVAO.com www.SavePhilippineSeas.com twitter: blogie email: email@example.com