Recent inspection of JGSPG’s artificial reefs in Barangay Simlong shows rich marine biodiversity

2One of the commitments of JGSPG in the preservation of environment and natural resources is the establishment of a marine biodiversity program. In May 2002, JGSPC led the deployment of 23 artificial reef blocks at the shallow sandy coastal zone of Barangay Simlong, Batangas City, approximately 100 meters away from the shoreline and 5 meters in depth. In April 2015, a second artificial reef was added with a total of 220 artificial reef blocks, at 25 meters depth, 400 meters away from the first artificial reef.

The artificial reef blocks JGSPC deployed are made of concrete, each measuring approximately 2 cubic feet. The concrete blocks deployed on May 2002 were arranged in a manner that a low relief artificial reef module is formed, covering a total area of 12.5 square meters. On the other hand, the blocks deployed on April 2015 formed 4 conjoined pyramidal artificial reefs and covered an estimated area of 100 square meters.

During the recent monitoring on the 2 artificial reef sites last April 2016, fish species richness improved considerably. At the first artificial reef site, a total of 40 unique species of fish distributed among 9 families were identified. Apogonidae (cardinalfish) and Pomacentridae (damselfish) were the 2 most diverse fish families with 7 species each. Overall, there were 30 major or ecologically important fish, 9 target or commercial species, and a single coral-health indicator fish.

At the second artificial reef site, a total of 43 species of reef and reef-associated fish species belonging to 24 families were identified. The total fish species count was comprised of 30 major or ecologically important species, and 13 target or commercially important species. The major species was mostly represented by Apogonidae (cardinalfish), Balistidae (triggerfish), Chaetodontidae (bannerfish), Cirrhitidae (hawkfish), Gobiidae (gobies), Labridae (wrasses), Monacanthidae (filefish), Ostraciidae (boxfish), Pinguipedidae (sandperch), Pomacentridae (damselfish), Pseudochromidae (dottybacks), Scorpaenidae (scorpionfish), Serranidae (anthias), Solenostomidae (pipefish), Tetraodontidae (pufferfish), and the Zanclidae (Moorish Idol Zanclus cornutus). Target species includes Acanthuridae (surgeonfish), a triggerfish, Caesionidae (fusiliers), Ephippidae (batfish), Haemulidae (sweetlips), Lethrinidae (breams), Lutjanidae (snappers), Mullidae (goatfish) and Nemipteridae (threadfin breams).

Natural reefs are important in marine ecosystems because they provide protection for various marine species, from sponges, anemones, crustaceans and fish.   JGSPGs 2 artificial reefs function in a similar way as naturaf reefs – they provide protection and a habitat for a diverse range of marine life.  The artificial reefs have a continuing positive impact in the nearby community since fish and other marine life are becoming abundant in the shallow sandy coastal zone of Barangay Simlong, Batangas City.  The abundance of marine resources  provides fishing opportunities for local fisher folk.   The community understands the importance and benefits of these installations and are involved and vigilant in the protection and preservation of the deployed artificial reefs.   Artificial reefs support not only marine biodiversity and the economy of the fisher folks. These areas may likewise be considered a potential diving site that could promote local jobs associated with tourism and recreation.