PIEC for SEPP Board recommends measures for diving and cave usage

The Board of Directors of the Panglao Island Executive Committee Sustainable Environmental Protection Project (PIEC for SEPP), in its meeting last August 1, 2014, passed a resolution recommending to the Municipality of Panglao to adopt the Diving Usage Control and Management protocols of the Tourism and Conservation Working Group (TCWG) of the PIEC for SEPP. It was based on Councilor Josephus Jasper Arcay’s presented recommendations, as follows:
 To strictly implement “No Ticket No Dive Policy”
 To adopt an “Advance Reservation System” dive trip to the Balicasag
 To set the maximum number of divers, meaning 60 dives/day/site = 21,900 dives/year/site
 To prohibit transient dive centers/shops/operators
 To require payment of Environmental Usage Fee as financial control
 To establish a distinct and separate “Trust Fund” and to reinvest it to conservation purposes
 To prohibit introductory dive & trainings in Balicasag except for Balicasag Island Dive Resort (BIDR) who will designate an area for such purpose
 To conduct continuous research and study for the adaptive management by PADAYON-BMT and the SEPP-JICA Team
 To setup proper mooring buoys and to replace to helix anchor system

Another resolution was passed by the Board that recommends to the Municipality of Dauis to adopt the recommended protocols for Cave Usage Control and Management, which was based on the presentation of Dauis Municipal Tourism Officer, Mr. Christopher Nistal, as follows:
 To control the maximum number of visitors staying in the cave in the peak season (December to May) as 30 visitors at once and one group up to 15 visitors, meaning to meet 50 visitors/30 min. as carrying capacity
 To improve current system of guide and group tour
 To do a briefing to visitors about the rules and regulation of the cave prior to descend.
 To set limit on areas (guide points) for guiding and paths for walk and observation
 To prohibit specific activities (touching stalactites and stalagmites, bringing of food, etc.
 To prohibit bathing during weekend (only for locals) and diving off at the pool anytime
 To introduce registration system for guides and provide wage to the guides

Director Holger recommended to include other sectors in the implementation of the diving usage and control management,  such as the fishing community (spear fishing),  because they affect the reefs around the island.  Atty. Nunag seconded the said recommendation with a comment “We don’t want to show that the dive operators are the main culprit of the reef degradation since this is multi-sectoral in nature.”  He also added that the snorkeling activity should be banned now since they contribute as well to the reef impact, and additionally, the growing “carenderias” or temporary food stalls that can contribute to the eutrophication of the island due to the seepage of their organic load (garbage) into the reefs.

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