UPMSI joins opposition to offshore mining of Lingayen Gulf

By November 21, 2021Business

THE University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) that maintains a marine science laboratory in Bolinao town expressed fears that a proposed seabed magnetite mining project  scheduled to start in the second half of 2022, will threaten the environment in the Lingayen Gulf and neighboring coastal communities .

The UPMSI manifested its support to the opposition aired by local  fishermen, officials, members of the academe and environment watch groups  to the offshore mining project of Iron, Ore, Gold and Vanadium Resources Philippines Inc. for 24 years.

It warned that the proposed offshore mining project will  have irreversible  impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity, livelihood and tourism in both the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union and called, instead,  for the protection of the marine habitats and resources of the Lingayen Gulf for the  next generations.

UPMSI describes the  Lingayen Gulf as an embayment with an area of 2,100 square kilometers and spans the coastal provinces of Pangasinan and La Union. The Gulf is home to diverse and interconnected ecosystems, where several Marine  Protected Areas (MPAs) and a national park—the Hundred Islands National Park—have been established.

Around  40 species of fish, including mackerel (alumahan or hasa-hasa) roundscads or galunggong, rabbit fish (barangen), thrive in the Lingayen Gulf and comprise the fish catch in the area.  In 2019  alone, total production from commercial and municipal marine fisheries  was 16,280 metric tons with a value of  P 1,792 billion recorded for Pangasinan, and another 3.602 metric tons worth P458 million for La Union.

On the other hand, grow out culture of bangus in 2019 alone produced 58,273 metric tons for Pangasinan and La Union, worth P 6.765 billion.

UPSMI  maintained that over 1.2 million people that live in the  coastal communities of Lingayen Gulf, particularly 47,435 individuals engaged in fisheries and fisheries-related activities which include capture fishing, aquaculture, gleaning, fish processing and other related activities would be seriously affected.

The mining company’s plan to keep  the pipe for extraction   to sea floor to minimize suspension of sediments will still lead to disturbance and potential damage to the seabed and affect associated organisms such as oysters   scallops and sea cucumber, UPSMI said. .

At the same time, the removal of sediments offshore  will deepen sea floor morphology off the coast as sediment accumulated areas remain low-lying and therefore prone to coastal erosion, the statement further said.

It added that  since deeper sea floor may  produce stronger waves reaching the coast,  it could worsen the flooding problems in the towns and cities during the typhoon session. (Leonardo Micua) 

Share your Comments or Reactions


Powered by Facebook Comments