GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- A private initiative to
rehabilitate the marine environment around Sarangani Bay by a group
of scuba divers has surpassed targets, the proponents dropping 1,353
artificial coral reefs nine months since the start of the
Christopher Dearne, a member of the Sarangani
Bay Divers that is behind the project, said that by the end of 2006,
they intend to submerge some 3,000 concrete reef domes in the
Dearne’s group originally projected to drop
only 1,000 reef domes in one year.
“These goals were easily achieved. As of last
mid-January, we had over 1,300 concrete reef domes dropped to the
bottom of the sea,” Dearne said in a report to the project’s private
The divers’ project has already caught the
attention of the public. Last November, the city council passed a
resolution commending the divers for their rehabilitation
Dearne, American John Heitz, and their
Filipino diving buddies have been doing what local government units
within Sarangani Bay ought to do -- to rehabilitate the corals
damaged by dynamite fishing, pump boats’ anchors and fishing
The group made its first artificial reef dome
last April. This they named Cambridge because their planning
sessions were done at Dearne’s Cambridge Farm
Framed using plywood, the cemented “Cambridge
Dome” has holes all over for the corals to thrive and as habitat for
various kinds of fishes.
All the other reef domes they made were
produced using cement, sand and steel bars.
With innovation, the group was able to produce
reef domes costing only from P350 to P450 each. Those constructed
abroad cost at least $80, or more than P4,000.
The group’s pioneering efforts are paying off,
bringing a sense of pride and satisfaction to its
Dearne noted that within only two weeks after
setting up the reef domes, organisms have already attached
themselves to the structure.
“Tiny barnacles and white worm housings were
visible. Algae were soon to follow along with small green tunicates.
Damsel fish, Toby’s lion fish and even a mantis shrimp took
residence within the domes,” he said.
Dearne said that octopus, crinoids, scorpion
fish, a carpet anemone, shrimps, goat fish, grazing fish and
porcupine puffers have also been spotted in the
The marine creatures are attracted to the
domes following the transplantation of corals into the holes drilled
on the outer surface, he said. Among those transplanted are the fast
growing stag horn corals and soft hand corals.
Dearne said that at Dupalco Beach here, the
area where they set the domes and transplanted stag horn corals used
to be just a sandy bottom with very little obvious life. “Now there
are plenty of fish in the area! This result is very encouraging,” he
Dearne said that the biggest problem in coral
reef areas at Sarangani Bay is the use of fine-meshed nets, which he
added is a “very destructive” method. “This should be stopped,” he
He urged government agencies to step in and
prevent further destruction of the remaining natural