New Pool of Open Water Divers Trained for MPA Monitoring and Protection Thru the FISH Visayas Project

By Mary Ruth Ochavillo. Posted on OCTOBER 17, 2023.

Panglao, Bohol – On October 2, 2023, ten (10) key individuals from LGU Alburquerque, LGU La Libertad, local fishers from Ubay, project officer from the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the project team of the AFOS Foundation completed a comprehensive three-day Training on MPA Monitoring (Open Water Diving). This initiative was initiated by the FISH Visayas Project with the primary objective of cultivating a new pool of open-water divers intended to play a relevant role in aiding efforts to oversee and evaluate sanctuaries and other protected areas covered by project.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are internationally recognized as highly effective tools for fisheries management. Within these designated zones, human activities are regulated by local municipalities, with the overarching aim of safeguarding marine ecosystems and preserving biodiversity. This strategy is designed to ensure the thriving of marine ecosystems, which includes coral reefs, seagrass beds, and kelp forests. Regular monitoring activities are, therefore, indispensable for evaluating the health and status of these critical ecosystems, ultimately ensuring the preservation of biodiversity.

The FISH Visayas Project remains unwavering in its commitment to resource protection, emphasizing the creation of model sites and the diligent maintenance of MPAs throughout the project areas. The newly minted pool of open-water divers stands to elevate the documentation of MPA biodiversity and assume a pivotal role in collecting vital data concerning marine ecosystems.

Moreover, the data generated through rigorous monitoring has a far-reaching impact. It plays a pivotal role in informing policy and decision-makers at the local, and even national, levels. This information serves as a compass for charting the establishment of new MPAs, the expansion of existing ones, and the formulation of comprehensive marine conservation policies.

In the broader context, the Training on MPA Monitoring (Open Water Diving) harmonizes with the overarching objectives of the FISH Visayas Project. Notably, it aligns with the project’s Result Area 1, which pertains to “Training for Fishermen and MSMEs,” and also resonates with Result Area 4, with its focus on “Resource Protection.” This holistic approach underscores the project’s dedication to the preservation of marine resources, thereby ensuring the long-term sustainability of marine ecosystems.