Map of Lubang-Looc MPA


Regulations for Lubang and Looc MPA's

In 2010 the Municipalities of Lubang and Looc passed ordinances to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) of more than 14,000 hectares.

The Looc-Lubang marine protected areas are composed of a total of 14,485 hectares scattered across ten sites around the island, making it the largest MPA system in the entire Verde Island Passage.

The area also hosts the corridor’s largest “No Take Zone” at 1150 hectares while the remaining 13,335 are designated as “ fishery reserve areas”.

Composed of the stretch of water surrounded by the provinces of Batangas, Occidental & Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Marinduque, the VIP Marine Biodiversity Corridor has been recognized by experts as the “center of the center” of marine biodiversity in the world.

Further studies led by Conservation International (CI) showed that the Looc-Lubang area is the one of the areas with the greatest marine conservation potential in the VIP. The reefs and shallows around the islands showed very high concentrations of fish larvae and egg, which means that protecting these areas is important in maintaining biodiversity and sustaining the fisheries resources of the entire corridor.

The area also hosts the corridor’s largest “no take zone” (NTZ) at 1,150 hectares, while the remaining 13,335 hectares are designated as “fishery reserve areas.”

No take zones are MPAs that are set aside to be protected from all forms of extraction.

Fishery reserve areas, on the other hand, are those where only certain fishing methods and gears are allowed. These areas are established in order to protect the marine habitat and enhance fisheries resources.

Reference: Reports from Arvel Malubag & Conservation International, posted January 12, 2015

Objectives od the Lubang and Looc MPA's

Looc Bantay-Dagat member Rene Paglicawan affirmed that illegal fishers operate in their locality before using both dynamites and cyanide in fishing. Difficulty rises when it comes to catching the illegal fishers due to faster and more advanced boats compared to those of Bantay-Dagat’s as stated by Paglicawan.

According to him, the MPA entails more initiative for better policing of the area especially now that Smart Communications gave free 20 cell phones for the members of Bantay-Dagat of Looc and Lubang.

Bernard Coyoca - illegal fishing victim
Blast Fishing in the Philippines

Blast fishing is a destructive form of fishing that uses dynamite or other homemade explosives to kill or stun reef fish.

A dynamite blast kills all fish within a 15-20m radius by sending a powerful shock wave of 4,940 feet per second through the water causing the internal organs of the fish such as swim bladder and intestines to burst while the skeleton of the fish sustains hundreds of fractures


The rupturing of the swim bladder causes an abrupt loss of buoyancy; a small number of fish float to the surface, but most sink to the sea floor.


The explosions indiscriminately kill large numbers of fish, and other marine organisms in the vicinity. It can cause extensive damage to coral reefs.

In the Philippines most of the coastlines are exposed to illegal method of fishing, and blast and cyanide fishing is damaging the country’s coral reefs.

According to a BFAR study on sardines the future loss after one cycle is about 10,000 the immediate market sales obtained.


Cyanide fishing

Cyanide fishing is a method used to stun reef fish in order to collect them, which causes damage to the surrounding coral reefs. First practiced in the Philippines in 1962, the purpose of cyanide fishing is mainly to supply live fish for the aquarium trade.

Since the 1980s, it has been conducted on a much larger scale to provide live reef fish to restaurants in Hong Kong, Singapore, and mainland China.

Fishermen make concentrated cyanide by crushing sodium cyanide (NaCN) pellets into squirt bottles and filling them with seawater. The fishermen then dive down to coral reef areas and squirt the concentrated cyanide into crevices where reef fish hide.

The cyanide stuns the fish temporarily, making them easier to capture. The live reef fish are brought back to the ship and are put in seawater for transportation.

Cyanide fishing destroys thousands of hectares of essential coral reef habitats every year. Although cyanide leaves the structure of the coral intact, it kills the coral polyps.

The cyanide stresses the zooxanthellae, the symbiotic algae that live in coral polyps. The result is “bleaching,” the discoloration that results from the loss of the algae from the polyps, which can be fatal to the coral.


A tropical fish fancier

Lubang Island is relatively close to Manila (about 120 km) , accessible by high speed launches from Luzon. Private aircraft and helicopters can fly to Manila. A weekly ferry service to Manila exists.

Most of the western coastline bordering the MPA (Marine protected Area) is inaccessible by road. Relatively isolated camp-sites/resorts could be easily set up in Lubang for bio-prospecting and general exploitation of marine life by interested parties.

"The earliest Philippine medical biotechnology discovery was erythromycin, a common antibiotic from Philippine soil bacteria that was commercialized in 1952 by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. The soil bacteria was extracted from samples submitted by Filipino scientist Dr. Abelardo Aguilar."

An example of applying the procedure for obtaining genetic sampling permits is at It appears that the process has been modified since the original publication in 2008.

Bathymetric map of verde passage showing Lubang Island and Batangas