DENR-PAWB, Batangas LGU Fisheries Division and Malampaya Foundation Inc. joined forces to combat Crown-of-Thorns (COT) infestation at Pagkilatan reefs, one of the remaining pristine reefs in Batangas Bay.

The three partners conducted initial COT collection on April 19, 2013 and will return with more experienced volunteer divers to help collect the dreaded COT during DENR's celebration of Month-of-the-Ocean in May 2013.

The infestation was discovered during a survey dive by MFI and community divers in late March 2013. Majority of the COT extracted ranged from 12-15 inches in diameter, indicating mostly adult population in the area.

Pagkilatan reef is located in Batangas City within the Verde Island Passage, considered the "center of the center of shorefish biodiversity in the world". Conservation of the renowned marine biodiversity channel is led by the DENR-PAWB together with other non-profit organizations and various local governments.