Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) has pledged to protect marine protected areas (MPA) surrounding its coal mines in Semirara Island.
The company said it will support the local government of Caluya’s campaign to declare two near-shore sites in the island as marine reserves.
The sites were identified by the Siliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management (SUAKCREM), a marine and terrestrial research organization that surveyed the island.
“Prior to this research, marine diversity around the island was undocumented. We wanted an independent study to help resolve concerns and allegations of environmental degradation in Semirara Island,” said SMPC president and COO Victor Consunji said.
“Contrary to expectation for mining areas, the reefs surveyed has extensive coverage of live hard coral cover and relatively high fish biomass and density,” SUAKCREM’s study said.
Areas affected by siltation and fishing activities may still recover if “strictly protected from heavy fishing.”
SMPC said it will coordinate with its host community and the local government unit (LGU) to figure out how to protect the MPAs.
The company also said it will restock giant clams on the sites once legally declared as marine reserves.