Nueva Valencia is a third-class (that’s an official designation, not an insult) municipality in the province of Guimaras, Philippines. It has a population of 37,852, and its territory includes the islands of Guiwanon and Panobolon.
Its claim to “fame” is being the site of the Guimaras oil spill in August 2006, when the oil tanker MT Solar 1–carrying more than two million liters of bunker fuel–sank during a violent storm.
The area has long suffered from large amounts of illegal fishing activities which, together with the oil spill, have imperiled local fisheries.
Now, as the result of a public-private partnership at Igang Bay Marine Sanctuary, a coral reef is thriving again, and it’s restoring the local fish population.
“It’s a slow process, but we are seeing improvement,” said Dr. Vilma Limates of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-Guimaras). This year, there is a 334% increase in fish density.
Mayor Emmanuel Galila of Nueva Valencia town noted how there is a also decrease in illegal fishing activities, as local fishermen have been taught not to take shortcuts in earning their income.
Reef photo via Adobe Stock.