The Tubbataha Management Office conducted the annual Dive Operators’ Consultation on 3 March 2015 in Puerto Princesa City. The consultation is conducted to provide a venue for park authorities to discuss developments in Tubbataha and to seek advice from the private sector in order to improve the management of the park.
Research results were reported to inform scuba diving operators of the current condition of the reefs. Results established that fish, coral cover and seabird populations show an increasing trend. An exit survey conducted in 2014 in collaboration with the University of the Philippines – Asian Institute of Tourism showed that majority of tourists visiting the park are satisfied with the service of dive operators and with the diving experience. Most agree that the rules and regulations in the park are adequate to ensure its protection.
LAMAVE Director, Dr. Alessandro Ponzo, provided an orientation on the elasmobranchs – sharks and rays – of Tubbataha. LAMAVE is conducting a survey of top predators and elasmobranchs in the park this year.
The views of dive operators were sought regarding management issues such as use of facilities and inadequate financing. TMO announced that an increase in conservation and other fees is in the horizon, most probably in 2016, as tourism collections need to be augmented to maintain current management activities. The conservation fee of PhP3,000 was instituted ten years ago.