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Center for Empowerment and Resource Development
Digital photo transect survey and fish visual census technique following the method of English et al. (1997) were used in the surveys. Reef health of Mondragon was assessed using the quartile index established by Gomez and Alcala (1979) and revised by Gomez et al. (1981) wherein the proportion of living hard corals were compared relative to other benthich components. At this scale, the area is classified as relatively poor to good condition with an average percentage live hard coral cover of 27.1%. This value is nearly comparable to the current state of Philippine reefs with average hard coral cover of 32.3%. Across the seven (7) coral reef sites, Monbon situated between Brgy. Chitongko and San Juan had the highest hard coral cover (56.6%). This was followed by Pasig na Lubog (41.3%) and Pasig na Lutaw (30.7%) both belonging to Brgy. Doña Lucia, then by Panininrahan (26.5%) of Brgy. San Agustin, Palijon of Brgy. Doña Lucia (20.5%). The last two sites, Hirapsan (Brgy. Makiwalo) and Pinguhan (brgy. Roxas) had less than 10% hard coral cover.

dsc04838A total of sixty-nine (69) reef fish species belonging to 22 families/subfamilies were recorded in thep4030153 reefs of Mondragon. Relatively high number of species were observed in Monbon and Pasig na Lubog (28 species) followed by Palijon (26), Pasig na Lutaw (23) while the rest of the sites had less than 20 fish species. The average fish abundance was low, ranging from 6 to 716 individuals//250m2 (average=95). Relatively high abundance was observed in Pasig na Lubog while relatively low abundance was observed in the rest of the sites. In terms of fish biomass, the values range from 1.0 to 8.7 MT/km2 (average=4.0). Relatively higher biomass was observed in Palijon (8.7 MT/km2) and Pasig na Lutaw (5.6 MT/km2), while the other sites (i.e., Pasig na Lubog, Paninirahan, Monbon, Hirapsan, and Pinguhan) had low biomass. Based on the benchmark figures established in the country, the following account describes the initial reef fish profile in Mondragon based from the different sites surveyed in the Philippines: species diversity, abundance and biomass in all sites of Mondragon falls under low category.

Among the seven (7) sites surveyed, five sites were identified as having high potential to be an MPA based on the set criteria. The sites include Monbon (Rank 1), Pasig na Lubog and Pasig na Lutaw (Rank 2), Pinguhan (Rank 3), Paninirahan (Rank 4), Palijon and Hirapsan (Rank 5).

Environmental problems such as anthropogenic stress include, overfishing, siltation, collection of corals (e.g., Kangkurong reef) and white sand (e.g., Monbon Island) are the major threats on the coral reefs of Mondragon. An integrated approach to coastal resource management (CRM) is recommended to complement the MPA initiatives, and specific management plans for the MPAs are urgently needed to ensure enhanced MPA management and networking.