Bacuit Bay, Palawan Island

June 2013

Installation of mooring buoys to reduce damage to coral reefs

The barangays (communities) of Maligaya, Buena Suerte, Masagana, Aberawan, Manlag, Corong-corong and Bebeladan, on the west side of the Municipality of El Nido, and are having a tourism boom. Some local businesses, such as small-scale resorts and snorkeling and scuba tours, profit directly. Others, such as laundry services and high-value vegetable farms, see indirect benefits.

The communities know that tourists come for the beaches and coral reefs. They have already declared 30 areas as no-take marine protected areas (MPAs), totaling 2,251 acres, and most everyone is trying to protect the reef. In particular, boatmen take care to drop anchor only in designated areas. However, repeated dropping of anchors, even if done on the fringes, still damages the reefs. Moreover, some tourists don’t understand the dos and don’ts of keeping coral damage at a minimum.

The Municipal Tourism Office, the Municipal Tourism Council (private association of guides and resort owners), and the El Nido Foundation plan to install permanent mooring and marker buoys in the MPAs. Boats will be able to tie up without dropping anchors on fragile coral. The groups will also encourage guides to carry cards (in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and other languages), spelling out rules of conduct for tourists. A Seacology grant will fund the purchase and installation of mooring buoys in support of the 30 MPAs.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Seacology Japan.
Project Updates
May 2018
Working with local dive and snorkeling tour operators, ENF has installed the last 21 mooring pins at sites frequently visited by tourist boats. This brings the total number of moorings to 120 and...
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January 2018
The El Nido Foundation has installed 21 more mooring pins at sites frequently visited by tourist boats, bringing the total of mooring pins and buoys to 99. There is continuing difficulty with...
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May 2017
The El Nido Foundation has just placed orders for local fabrication of the first two types (three types are needed) of embedment anchors that will be used.
January 2017
Our project partners have now gotten financial commitments from the local government unit and the private sector support, and hope to complete the project by the end of 2017.
May 2016
The local government has approved money to buy the necessary hydraulic machine. The target completion date is now the end of 2016.
January 2016
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not yet released funds to buy the machine necessary to install the remaining anchors. Our partner, the El Nido Foundation, is negotiating...
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May 2015
According to Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo, the 78 mooring pins that have been installed are still in place with buoys attached and are being used regularly by tour boats. There are still 38...
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January 2015
Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo reports that as the end of 2014, 78 mooring pins had been installed in target sites. Progress has been slowed because some targeted areas were found to be...
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June 2014
According to Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo, “As of mid-April, 77 mooring pins have been installed in 21 sites, with temporary floaters made of recycled materials. Participants in actual...
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