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Fish Sanctuary in Panabo

“Kadagatan sa Panabo.” A family picks shells along the coastline of Cagangohan Fish Sanctuary in Panabo City, which is part of the Davao Gulf, and one of the priority areas for marine biodiversity conservation of the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Eco-region (WWF, 2001).

Among the major fishing grounds in the Philippines, Panabo has been one of the heavily fished areas in the country. The Cagangohan Fish Sanctuary in Brgy. Cagangohan has a total area of 53 hectares divided into two zones, Buffer Zone (40 hectares) and No-Take Zone (NTZ, 13 hectares) which is beside a fish cage zone. Marine biodiversity in the area covers a shallow reef about 200 meters from the coastline that shelters varied reef fishes species, and mangroves visited by migratory birds.

Threatened by overfishing, existing efforts were strengthened by the LGU-Panabo City, the Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) and Rare Philippines Inc. with a signed agreement in August 2012 to run a campaign to change the behaviors of fishers and inspire sustainable fishing in the area. The Panabo City Pride Campaign was launched to inspire local fishers to fish in the right place, outside designated No Take Zones, in order to allow fish to grow, multiply and replenish depleted areas. Fisherfolks are also required to use only appropriate fishing gear (hook and line) in the fishing area and fish only outside the non-fishing area of the Cagangohan Fish Sanctuary.

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