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Marine Education Center in Jagna, Bohol
« on: August 27, 2007, 12:40:09 PM »
Written By Joe Espiritu
Jagna-based Writer
Bohol Sunday Post

The officers of the Bohol Foundation for Environmental Restoration Preservation and Protection Inc, BFERPPI, proposed to the Jagna Municipal Council to establish a Marine Education Center in Paseo del Mar. Pangdan. The five aims of the Centers are thus: to inform and educate people about the diverse wildlife in Bohol Sea; to document and preserve the history of the cultural community life in Jagna; to produce a venue of information dissemination, education and research about coastal and marine life of Bohol; to promote the conservation of the rich marine resources of Bohol; and to promote sustainable fishing in the Bohol Sea.

The collaborators and partners in this ambitious project are the Local Government of Jagna, Non Government Units, Pondok Jagnaanon of Manila and other provinces and various foundations. This project will need the talents of marine biologists, professional photographers, writers, computer specialists and trained researchers as well as writers and illustrators. If the Marine Education Center is to present a relatively complete information on the marine life and conditions in the Bohol Sea , it would be a great undertaking.

First, it would concern itself in local marine ecology. Although the Jagna marine environment is similar to that of any marine environment of the coastal towns in Bohol , there would be subtle variation because of the influence of nature and people in the locality. There would be a great difference from the pristine condition of a virgin area to that of an environment, which has to produce livelihood even if marginal to thousands of people depending upon fishing for survival.

In the attempt to reconstruct the original conditions of an over fished area, lithe researchers will have to observe untouched places near the vicinity. However, in the case of Jagna, researchers will have to go farther afield since the marine environment of Jagna is relatively different from that of Duero or Garcia Hernandez. Jagna has varied environment. There are rocky shores, small tidal flats, mangrove strands, coral reefs, sandy bottoms and steep drop offs. Name it, Jagna has it.

To cite examples: there was once abundance of mudskippers tanasak if you like - in the rocky shores and tidal flats. Now none could be found. There were once flat, blue green crabs locally called kaskas, scurrying among the rocks. Like the tanasak, they were abundant once. The mole crab or kabya could be found in numbers along the area where the waves break. Now none could be found even if the places where they could be found are disturbed by turning up the sand where they hide. Once there were sand fleas, the ones that jump among the high water mark on the shore when they are disturbed. Now they are gone. Local folks had even forgotten the name of that crustacean. Those are scarcely edible but they disappeared just the same.

The disappearance of those small animals may be insignificant to ordinary people but to an ecologist, they pose a warning. An ecological balance had been disturbed. Further investigation would be needed to decide whether an attempt to restore the environs to its original condition or just to minimize the effects of population encroachment to marine areas to avoid further disruption of the ecological balance. The BFERPPI has a great work to do. We hope that they will not deviate from their original objective. It is difficult to balance the need for livelihood and conservation and restoration of the environment. Perhaps, we could suggest that one of the projects of the BFERPPI would be to convince the fisherfolk to limit its population growth.

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Marine Education Center in Jagna, Bohol

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