The small town of Prieto Diaz in Sorsogon serves both as a witness and a living example of having the great gift of the sea. They have access to a variety of fish, including those essential for ‘danggit,’ as well as seashells like crabs and ‘ananakla’.

‘Ananakla’ is endemic to Prieto Diaz and is frequently found in brackish marshes and mangroves. It is a member of the crayfish family and has a richer flavor and sweetness than prawns.

The rich ocean equates livelihood. This creates opportunity for the residents to have stable income through fishing and sea shell hunting and collection. The residents need not go far to make money for their families because the sea is their provider.

Lerma Domdom, 35-years-old from Brgy. Diamante, Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon, works in the ‘danggit’ production for more than 5 years now. She is assigned in deboning the fish. With her expertise, she is able to debone 50 kilos of danggit fish in a day.

“Malaking pasalamat po kami sa mangrove, kasi kung walang mangrove, wala kami hanapbuhay. Kasi diyan sa mangrove nangingitlog ang mga isda at ananakla,” Lerma said in an interview with Bicoldotph.

Kuloy Despuig Jr., tourism officer of Prieto Diaz shares in an interview that aside from opening the opportunity for livelihood, this majestic mangrove forest also provides additional tourism spot in the locality.

“Bale sa Tourism, ugwa kami program na mangrove tour at ang nagsisilbing boat paddlers namin ay mga fisherman. Sinda ang nagiging tour guide,” Despuig Jr. said.

Traslation: “We have a program for mangrove tours in our tourism, and the people who operate the boats are fishermen who serves as well as the tour guide.”

Prieto Diaz has more than a thousand hectares of mangrove forest (which is still getting bigger) and has become a home for the thousands of fish and sea creatures. Because of this, the local government is strictly implementing different programs to protect the area such as Bantay Dagat and other projects in partnership with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Abundance comes only after a fair share of responsibilities of taking care of the sea and mangrove forest of the residents, “Kapag mayaman ang mangrove mo, magiging mayaman din ang kumunidad,” Despuig Jr. exclaimed.

“Malaking importansya na mayroon mangrove lalo na kapag may bagyo, nahaharang nya ang malalakas na hangin, at syempre hanapbuhay para sa mga taga rito,” Lerma added. | Aaron John Baluis

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