Project Title: Artificial Reef., Philippines
Location: Atimonan Bay, Lumutan, Quezon, Philippines.
Lead Club District 1210: Wolverhampton.
Supporting Clubs District 1210: Burslem, Newport, Newcastle–under–Lyme, Stafford Knot, Stoke, Tettenhall, Walsall, Wellington, Willenhall.
Host Club District 3820: Atimonan Sunrise, The Philippines.
Project Description: The creation of an artificial reef for the revitalisation of the marine environment and to improve the livelihood of fishermen.
Total Project Cost: $US 25,105.
Total Grant Funding: $US 21,195 (The Rotary Foundation – $US 11575, District Designated Funds – $US 9620.)
Grant Type: Matching Grant
Rotarians help to improve the livelihood of local fishermen
The municipality of Atimonan is situated at the southern end of Lamon Bay in the province of Quezon, Philippines with at least 20kms of coastline. The bay has been hopelessly overfished, particularly with fishing methods that are extremely detrimental to the marine environment such as dynamite and cyanide and the use of tight mesh nets. As a result, the fish stock and marine life in general, as well as coral reefs and mangrove areas are severely damaged, leaving the local fishermen with no source of income.
In order to help with revival efforts, the project will provide artificial reefs made of concrete and steel modules that will promote coral growth, give shelter to marine life and serve as a fish nursery and tourist/scuba diving attraction. It has been shown already that within 2 –3 years a significant improvement in fish stock, coral growth and other marine life can be achieved.
Once completed, the whole coastline will be designated a Marine Sanctuary, owned by the local community and it will be patrolled by the Coastguard and the local community, ensuring that the previous methods of overfishing do not recur.
The project is a direct result of a Group Study Exchange visit to the Philippines in 2006/7. The District 1210 team was lead by Rotarian Bob Cliff of the Rotary Club of Burslem. Bob and his team have remained in contact with many of the Rotarians they met during the exchange and subsequent visits have taken place, including major projects in a Sight Savers initiative, with teams of eye specialists performing cateract operations.
Bob drew the artificial reef project to the notice of District Rotary Foundation Chairman Richard Green. Richard was the President of the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton, and his club’s International Committee, chaired by Rotarian Mike Boyce, readily agreed to his suggestion that they should take the lead on the project with a donation of $US1000 (£639.) A number of other clubs in District 1210 agreed to support the project with donations of $US333 (£200) each.
The project is on going with the construction of many reefs but one, touted to be the Philippines biggest was built in 2009, the concrete, man-made reef is about 4 meters high and 21 meters in diameter, and weighs some 85 tons. It is supported by hundreds of concrete-like balusters joined together in several sections.
The different sections were assembled on land. The steel bars were welded and cemented together.
On top of the artificial reef is a two-inch concrete slab showing an exact replica of the official emblem of Rotary International.
The giant emblem a gear wheel with six spokes and 24 cogs with the name of Rotary International written on it was painted with the clubs official royal blue and gold colors.
We believe that our artificial reef is the biggest in the country and for the record, it is also the biggest Rotary emblem in the world.
Rotarian Greg de Gracia, a known advocate of the Lamon Bay protection and rehabilitation conceptualised the idea of building the giant reef with the Rotary emblem as model and creating many more smaller reefs along the coastline.
The reefs are a labour of love by all sectors of the community local officials, civic groups and the fishermen themselves. Most of the fisherfolk volunteered to work for free, Oscar Chua, past president of the Rotary Club of Atimonan and chair of the artificial reef project commented that the fisherfolk organisation from the coastal villages of Balubad, Lubi, Talaba and Kilait (Baltak), which De Gracia heads, play a prominent role in the development of the project.
Learn More: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe9v5PFvDxo
To learn more about the province of Quezon click the following link: http://www.atimonan.gov.ph/
To learn more about artifial reefs click the following link: http://www.eco-coral.com/index1.html