COASTAL RESOURCE ENVIRONMENT PROFILE OF CATARMAN NORTHERN SAMAR
Authors: Myrna Nicol Ogoc
Number of views: 76
The coastline of the municipality of Catarman, Northern Samar stretches about 13.32 kilometers
and its municipal waters has an estimated area of 66.304 square kilometers. Generally it has a plain
bottom topography, consisting of coarse sand and muddy terrigenous soil that is carried and
deposited by the fresh water that gush out from Catarman River, the major tributary of ‘sweet
water’ which enriched the substrate with nutrients that eventually give rise to algal and plankton
blooms that invite schooling pelagic fishes jacking up the commercial value of the municipal
water. The soft bottom sediment gently slopes on the average of 3 degrees from the intertidal zone
and stretches up to 60 meters deep seaward.
The municipality has an estimated aggregate coral reef area of 2,558 square meters with only 20%
live coral cover that is mostly concentrated at the seaward side of reef edge, and with massive coral
as its dominant life-form structure.
The death of coral reefs (60 percent of the cover) is generally presumed to be an aftermath of heavy
siltation that is brought about by the influx of fresh water from Catarman river and other tributaries
as evidenced by the brownish color of the silted coral heads. However, sites of coral rubbles (about
10%) believed to be a remnant of the blast fishing in the area had been noticed. Non-biodegradable
Solid wastes such as cellophanes and plastics were also observed neck-tied on some coral heads.
Most of the fishes observed within 1-4 depth range along UEP- Cawayan Fringing reef and
Puputihon patch reef are non-commercial reef fish species, such as Palata, Gono, Alibang-bang,
lubayan while those fish species that are most preferred by fishermen are in least abundance and
can only be observed at greater depth range (Molmol, Baraka, Mayamaya). Commonly, the sizes
of the reef fish that were observed ranges from 6- 30 centimeters fork length suggesting that the
fish stock in the area is still young. The volume of the fish stock within the reef system of
Puputihon and UEP-Cawayan area is estimated to be at 15 kilograms per hectare. The high
importance value of the” non-target” reef species connotes that the surrounding reef habitat has
still the capability to carry out the necessary ecological processes of reef fish reproduction.
There are 5 species of seagrasses that thrives in Puputihon islet and UEP-Cawayan fringing reef.
Ecologically, these seagrass areas serve as breeding and feeding grounds for some seagrassspecific fishes and mollusks. The Turtle Grass, Thallassia Hemprichii and Cymodocea
sp.dominates the seagrass community (constituting about 85 % of the area). The Eel grass (Enhalus
acoroides), Spoon Grass (Halophila sp.), Needle Grass (Halodule sp.) are noted to be less
occurring. Though, this macrophyte community could well serve the reef system ecologically because of its high diversity, its environmental importance is not much due to its negligible area.
Approximately, the seagrass community cover an aggregate of 500 square meter.
Of the twenty one (21) species of marine algae, ten (10) of which are chlorophytes or green algae,
(four)4 phaeophytes, brown algae and Seven (7) Rhodophytes or algae that gives off red color.
Only Gelidiella acerosa, a Rhodophyte and Caulerpa spp.a chlorophyte are harvested by the
fisherfolks for commercial purpose. Gelidiella acerosa or gulaman dagat have a density of 98.9
square meters per hectare during the conduct of the survey.
There are about 37 species of mollusks that are present along the UEP- Cawayan sampling sites,
most of which are considered for commerce and domestic food.
Findings revealed the species composition of mangroves in all sampling stations. There were seven
(7) families, nine (9) genera, comprising fifteen (15) species of true mangroves that are found in
sampling stations. A total of 654 number of individuals were identified, counted, and measured.
According to number of individual (ni), api-api (Avicennia officinalis) of the family
Avicenniaceae registered to be the most abundant among other species and present in all sampling
stations followed by bakauan-lalake (Rhizophora apiculata) and bakauan-babae (Rhizophora
mucronata) of the family Rhizophoraceae with 73 and 66 number of individuals, respectively. The
least encountered species were tangal (Ceriops tagal) and pototat (Bruguiera sexangula) with 2 and
1 number of individuals, respectively.