The management board of the Ursula Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary has assessed a P1.7 million in damages to a fishing company whose boat had rammed through a coral reef area off the island in July.
The decision was made during the en banc meeting of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) on September 4 after officially determining the extent of the damage.
The amount will fund the restoration and rehabilitation of the damaged area caused by the fishing boat MV Chris Paul Bill III owned by Irma Fishing and Trading Corporation.
The valuation amount was reportedly based on an established economic valuation of P12,000 for a square meter of healthy corals as determined by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).
Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Frank Aquino said that based on their assessment, the fishing vessel damaged a total of 145 square meters of corals.
Aquino said the fishing company had expressed its willingness to pay the damages, adding that they will use the penalty to conduct rehabilitation of the damaged area.
“May willingness naman ang Irma fishing sa pagbabayad nito at ang halaga na yan ay siyang gagamitin para sa pagsasaayos muli ng mga nasirang coral reef sa Ursula na pangungunahan naman ng ating LGU with the help ng ating mga enviromental experts,” Aquino said.
MV Chris Paul Bill III rammed into Ursula Island on July 31, 2020, due to rough sea conditions while it was conducting commercial fishing.
Meanwhile, the protected areas has remained closed to leisure trips or other tourism-related activities.