Basdio Marine Sanctuary

bohol beaches

The Basdio Marine Sanctuary is 18.4 hectares of fishing ground established by the fishermen of Barangay Basdio in an effort to improve and protect the marine resources in the area which is their perennial source of food and income. The sanctuary was established to answer the need to preserve the aquatic resources in Basdio which has dwindled.

bohol diving

photo by Goodspeed

Basdio is one of the coastal barangays of the municipality of Guindulman, Bohol and is considered as one of the most destitute. The people cannot get much from their land where the soil is so thin and most areas are covered with rocks. The lack of water supply also adds to the problem. To survive, the inhabitants turned to fishing.

Yet, the fish resources in their area have dwindled to an alarming extent. Dwindling fish catch is apparent, not only in Basdio though, but in the whole Philippine archipelago. Studies showed that this is due to excessive fishing and destructive fishing practices partnered with environmental degradation.

bohol diving

photo by marinegirl

Although fish can reproduce, they are not inexhaustible. They need to spawn for their populations to continue. With the growth of the canning industries, more and more fishes have to be caught to sustain their operation. Coupled with destructive fishing practices such as dynamite fishing and the use of fine mesh nets, who would expect the fish population to grow?

To alleviate the situation and with the leadership of their barangay council, the farmers and fishermen established a marine sanctuary. Everybody now takes part in protecting the established sanctuary from illegal fishers and likewise preserves the beauty and grandeur of the area covered, both underwater and on land.

bohol diving

photo by glenmaclarty

Now the fish and other crustaceans are allowed to reproduce without limit in the sanctuary. The corals in the area, which serves as habitats for fish, sea snakes, molluscs, marine worms, crustaceans, algae and sponges, are left to replenish themselves and grow. These corals were very much affected from dynamite fishing and other malpractices before.

Coral reefs are extremely efficient in capturing nutrients and sunlight and then cycling them for use by many different organisms under the sea. In fact they are an essential protein source for fish and other marine food products. It is estimated that 1 square kilometer of healthy coral reefs can produce up to 20 tons of fish per year.

bohol diving

photo by glenmaclarty

Eventually, the farmers and fishermen of Basdio formed the Basdio Farmers and Fishermen Association (BFFA) with the aim of improving the quality of life of the barangay folks thru income generating projects. Some of the members, if not all, underwent training on how to engage in entrepreneurial activities and how to better manage their environment and thus increase yield.

Now the Association is overseeing the operations of the Coral See and Seascape Tour in Guindulman town. The tour features a visit to the marine sanctuary where guests are treated to sights of schools of fish feeding and making swirls in the water which is crystal clear and unpolluted. One can see the rich aquatic life from the cliff overlooking the marine sanctuary.

bohol diving

photo by glenmaclarty

Guests are also guided to see the burial caves on the face of limestone cliffs overlooking the sea. Swimming is allowed by the beach yet fishing is not allowed. Swimming with exotic fishes around you is a totally different experience. Why not try it!