To capacitate divers in conducting biodiversity assessments, the DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), through the Freshwater Fisheries Research and Development Center (FFRDC), organized a three-day hands-on training on the ecological assessment of the Panabo City Mariculture Park (PCMP) on April 15-17, 2024 in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Trained were divers from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-National Mariculture Center (BFAR-NMC), BFAR-Regional Field Office 11, and the local government unit (LGU) of Panabo City. Staff from the NFRDI-Aquaculture Research and Development Division also participated in the training.

The training was led by Myleen Magistrado of NFRDI-FFRDC, who is also the project leader of the initiative “Impact Assessment of Mariculture in the Philippines”.

Facilitating the training were Dr. Badi Samaniego and Kexya Gustilo, experts on biodiversity assessment from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM).

Dr. Jericardo Mondragon, chief of BFAR-NMC, welcomed the project team and the participants and provided an overview of the status of mariculture parks in the Philippines and the need for site-specific impact assessments.

Simultaneously with the training, samplings of water, sediment, and plankton were conducted within and outside the PCMP to measure mariculture’s impacts on water and sediment quality. ### (Myleen Magistrado)