This IBA includes a complex of shallow sea bays and channels, extensive intertidal sand flats and mudflats, mangrove swamps, fishponds, salt pans and seaweed culture ponds, with coral reefs offshore. The area includes the mangroves, sand flats and fringing coral reefs of southern and western Mactan Island; the narrow Mactan Channel which separates the island from the Cebu mainland; the adjacent mainland coast (including Kalawisan Bay, Cansaga Bay and the estuary of the Cansaga River) with fringing mudflats and mangroves; and a large area of fish ponds at Jugan in Cansaga Bay. The total area of 18,000 ha includes at least 3,800 ha of coral and sand flats, 350 ha of intertidal mudflats, 400 ha of mangrove swamps and 500 ha of fish-ponds. The surrounding areas are both rural and industrial, with a port complex and international airport, and associated industrial complexes and oil terminals. There are also coconut plantations and subsistence agricultural crops in the rural areas. The offshore fisheries are very important for the local economy and the Cebu market. The seaweed culture ponds provide a base for exports to Japan, and mangroves and nipa palms are harvested locally for construction purposes, tannin and animal fodder (leaves of Sonneratia and Avicennia spp.). Gleaning on the intertidal flats is also very important for the local communities.
This IBA is one of the most important staging areas for migratory shorebirds in the Visayas. Up to 3,700 shorebirds were observed at Jugan Fish Ponds in 1986, and almost 1,600 (of 23 species) were observed in the area in April 1987, including internationally important numbers of Grey-tailed Tattler. The area is also important for a variety of herons and egrets, including the threatened Chinese Egret. Terns (Sterna sp.) are common, and several species of ducks have been recorded at Jugan Fish Ponds.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mactan, Kalawisan and Cansaga Bays. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/07/2020.