MANILA – Four fishermen were recognized as “Ocean Heroes” by an international marine organization on Tuesday.
The four fishermen awarded were Virgilio Aviso, 65; Renato Buenviaje, 55; Jocelyn Moya-Herkdle, 51; and, Mariano Sarcol, 60.
Oceana Philippines said these "Ocean Heroes" were recognized for “championing conservation, coastal law enforcement and sustainable fisheries in the Visayas.”
“Our Ocean heroes inspire so many, including our enforcement agencies, with their vigor and courage in protecting the Tañon Strait. May their determination and dedication spread, as we work together to protect and conserve our rich yet fragile marine resources,” Oceana Philippines Vice-President Atty. Gloria Ramos said in a statement.
According to Oceana, Aviso (Amlan, Negros Oriental) led a coast and marine awareness campaign in his community, and Buenviaje (Escalante City, Negros Occidental) served as a fish warden for over 10 years.
Moya-Herkdle (Toboso, Negros Occidental) spearheaded environmental associations and marine conservation, and Sarcol (Barili, Cebu) established marine protected areas.
The Tañon Strait is a 161-kilometer body of water that separates Negros and Cebu islands.
“The Strait is one of the largest and most productive Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the country, hosting 63% of the country’s coral species and 14 types of whale and dolphin, while providing food and livelihood for 42 towns, cities and municipalities in Cebu, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental,” Oceana said.
Ocean Heroes Awards was presented by Oceana Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. It seeks to “honor courageous community leaders to ensure the sustainable management of the marine ecosystems of the Tañon Strait.”