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Humphead Parrotfish: Siruma’s Pride and Concern

BEAUTIFUL AND PROTECTED. Humphead Parrotfish or Momol is now considered as vulnerable due to over-harvesting and degradation of their coral reefs. Breed and protected at the corals of Siruma, Camarines Sur, Momol is considered as an icon for the town’s publicity campaign. Above photo portrays the actual fish (courtesy of Wikipedia). Left photo shows the infographic design used by LGU-Siruma in its continuous campaign to preserve the sea creature.

NAGA CITY---Beside the world’s smallest fish Tabyos (Mistichthys Luzonensis) of lakes Buhi and Bato, Humphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) has its breeding sanctuary at the corals of Sapinitan Bay, Brgy. Penitan, Siruma, Camarines Sur.

The Humphead Parrotfish, also called Momol by the locals, is the largest specie of Parrotfish, found at the reefs of Indian and Pacific Ocean, which grows up to 4 feet and gains weight as much as 75 kilograms.

Momol, one of the important characters portrayed in the official seal of Siruma, is considered as the largest herbivorous sea creature inhabiting in the coral reefs and got its vulnerable conservation status due to over-harvesting and degradation of their habitat.

The re-population of the said fish, which is a known international delicacy, became one of the great concerns of the municipal government after the grand launching of the Siruma Pride Campaign, a long term Humphead Parrotfish conservation project, which was organized by the Local Government Unit (LGU), Department of Education (DepEd), Rare Philippines, and United States Agency International Development (USAID) on December 16, 2013.

In an interview with Lindol Azania, Officer-in-Charge of the Municipal Planning and Development Council (MPDC), he said that based on the promotional initiatives of the project, Momol is considered as an aquatic identity of the coastal municipality.

He said that the project was conceptualized thru the help of Fausto Romero Jr., former head of MPDC-Siruma, now currently working at the office of Camarines Sur Vice Governor Imelda Papin.

Azania confirmed that the Siruma Pride Campaign is funded by Rare Philippines and USAID but he admitted that there’s no legislative measure stating that the said fish is a cultural symbol of the town.

Siruma locals said catching this kind of fish inside the protected area in Brgy. Penitan is strictly prohibited.

The residents said that most of the Humphead Parrotfish found in Siruma are black but they clarified that some are blue and green in color, which is considered as very valuable due to its distinct complexion and beauty.

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