We will protect the endangered coral reefs with their amazing flora and fauna at Bacon District, Sorsogon City, Philippines. At the same time we create a sustainable marine ecotourism which benefits the local community by a highly needed source of income.
In 2020, at Sorsogon Province in the Philippines, the possibilities for the exploration of scuba diving locations were conducted. In the process, 11 suitable coordinates for different skill levels were determined at Bacon District, Sorsogon City. It was noted that compared to a 2010 status report, the number of corals has decreased and numerous corals have been severely damaged. Without immediate actions this process will continue until the reefs are completely destroyed.
The aim of the project is to preserve and rehabilitate the beautiful but vulnerable underwater environment at Bacon District through the introduction of ecotourism. Initially this will be done with a focus on scuba diving. Thereby we also create a sustainable source of income for the needy community. One of the great advantages is that diving at said location can be visited all year round. It is the perfect chance to take care of plants, animals and humans at the same time.
As soon as the financing has been completed, about 4 months will be needed for further preparations and project tasks. This includes training the fishermen, minor modifications to their boats, public relations and much more. With the first open water dive, the routine care and monitoring of the reefs as well as the marketing of ecotourism then proceeds directly.
“Ecotourism is sustainable tourism in sensitive areas; it contributes to financing the protection of nature” (translated from Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit, GTZ, 2001). And that’s exactly how we define it in our case.
What is the funded money used for?
The money will be utilized to buy a dive compressor. Such equipment is intended to refill air for tanks or bottles used in scuba diving. It is one of the basic, mandatory requirements for making the coast usable for recreational diving. It will be handed over to the community to serve as one of their sources of income. Other project expenses such as training of local fishermen and installation of buoys will be provided locally in the Philippines. This will also include regular environment protection awareness trainings.
In order to keep costs low and from the sustainability point of view, we will buy a second hand compressor. For this we need at least the amount mentioned in stage 1. We have added stage 2 because we want to purchase a device that is as durable as possible. This is a bit more expensive to buy and is still second hand.
We would prefer to purchase a compressor that was produced in the Philippines. But this does not exist. But all other resources for the project are sourced locally.
Why is the project an EcoCrowd project?
It is an EcoCrowd project because it will make significant contribution to the preservation of coral reefs. This will be achieved through several measures. The most direct is the installation of mooring buoys to protect coral reefs in areas with identified dive sites. It will be used for scuba diving courses. Instead of anchoring the training guide line at hard corals (which destroys them), such object will serve as an artificial platform. Also, anchors are no longer dropped in these areas which is another source of severe damages to the reefs. The regular dives make it easier to regularly monitor the condition of these corals and, accordingly, take appropriate action. Recognition and awareness is a mandatory first step and the only chance for the necessary changes. In addition, the dives are used to remove garbage. Organized/coordinated ecotourism diving ensures that there is no willful or negligent damage to the underwater world.
Coral reefs are by far the most biodiverse and productive marine structure, providing the perfect habitat for a quarter of all marine plant and animal species. (Translated quote from the website of the WWF)
With the successful implementation of ecotourism more public funds will be available for the required rehabilitation. This has already proven to be the case in several previous projects in the Philippines.
In addition, it is seen as the first step in generating income for the local community and improving their living conditions (nutrition, sanitation, education, housing). At the same time, this reduces the need for fishing (currently one of the main sources of income), which in turn also helps the ecological balance.
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Linda and I am from Germany. I am travelling around the world for one year and are trying to do something good and meaningful. So I did English training in Sri Lanka for kids and construction work for a NGO school in Cambodia as an example. Currently I am in the course of a volunteer-tourism program, or “voluntourism” here in the Philippines and working together with Edmund Santos, a certified scuba diving instructor. He is the main driver of the project and has already established parallel initiatives in other parts of this country.
For all detailed questions about the project as well as questions about scuba diving at Sorsogon Province, you are most welcome to contact Edmund directly. He is fluent in English and very passionate on diving, ecotourism, community development and children education. He will share the progress of the project on his profile once the fundraising is complete. This also includes the development of an independent online presence for the project.
We are also supported by the Buhatan River Cruises which is the first local initiative for ecotourism. They are taking very good care of the river conservation and are kind of a success model we will copy.
We design the future, because ...
we are developing a scuba diving tourism system that will help promote ecotourism, reduce fishing and conserve corals in the Bacon District, Sorsogon City.
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