Our conservation partnership with Blue Alliance
Our guests and members of our team got a chance to learn about, donate to, and indeed hang out with some of the great people who work for marine conservation group Blue Alliance Philippines on Wednesday evening here at LLV.
Our friend Christian, from the organisation, hosted a talk which covered everything from the group’s work training local fishermen to become marine rangers protecting fragile ecosystems, to their team’s new record of removing over 29,000 invasive Crown Of Thorns starfish from Puerto Galera’s waters in a single year.
And we signed up a whole new cohort of citizen scientists to help their work – go to divemindoro.org for yourself to get involved.
LaLaguna Villas has been a proud partner and sponsor of this excellent organisation for some time. We promote its good work to our divers and in media on the walls of our dive shop.
As Christian explained, Puerto Galera is in “the centre of the centre of the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world”.
Puerto Galera lies in the Verde Island Passage at the centre of the Coral Triangle and boasts more than 300 species of coral, including some found almost nowhere else in the world.
It is also home to threatened species including thresher sharks, mandarin fish and several species of giant wrasse.
Blue Alliance Philippines is the official partner of the local government of the island of Mindoro for managing Marine Protected Areas.
In its work the group seeks to inspire travellers to discover sustainable marine travel destinations, to learn more about coral reefs and the threats they face, and to gather a global community of people with a passion for reef conservation.
Christian told our guests on Wednesday that Blue Alliance goes into communities across the region to raise awareness of the fragility of the coastal ecosystem, and to provide education about the importance of respecting Marine Protected Areas which prevent overfishing and other damaging activities.
Blue Alliance has created a team of “ocean defenders”, employed from among the local community who are now racking up an impressive 1,800 hours per month.
These “fisherman turned rangers” are trained and equipped by Blue Alliance, who give them everything from patrol boats to night vision goggles, and then deputised by the local government with powers of search and seizure for infractions including catching protected species and fishing with proscribed gear.
The organisation also trains teams to prevent invasive species damaging the delicate Mindoro underwater ecosystem – last year they removed a record 29,000 crown of thorns starfish. These sea stars (which are thankfully not found in our Puerto Galera waters) are a blight on delicate corals because they feed on the coral polyps, killing them.
Many of the region’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are also home to turtle breeding sites, and Blue Aliance have been instrumental in training the community to handle and help stranded turtles.
The group is also expanding into other sustainable ocean businesses which can benefit the local community, including a mangrove crab hatchery and building seafood farms the profits from which can go into marine conservation.
But one of their biggest ongoing projects is one we can all support: becoming citizen scientists.
What they need is data, and the contribution of divers like guests here at LLV is invaluable, especially for monitoring MPAs in North Oriental Mindoro, where resources are limited.
With our help, they can gather more data quickly, leading to effective and lasting solutions for marine conservation.
So they are calling out for people to engage in vital conservation work, explore and understand this beautiful place, and make a meaningful difference while on holiday.
Often, you’ll be aiding in studying Puerto Galera’s Iconic, Keystone, or Threatened species, or monitoring a specific habitat or location.
Their biggest current projects are in monitoring sea turtles, thresher sharks, and watching for crown of thorns outbreaks, and if you go to https://divemindoro.org/be-a-citizen-scientist/ you’ll see the process for getting involved and helping them couldn’t be simpler!
So next time you’re here on the beautiful island of Mindoro, do what we do and join Blue Alliance in their effrts to monitor, protect and support our beautiful unique ecosytem and its many treasures.
Get in touch to book a stay and see where your underwater adventure takes you!