BUTUAN City — Marine biologists and experts recently put forward science-based solutions that address issues in coral protection in the country.
Dr. Wilfredo Roehl Y. Licuanan, in his talk entitled “Current Status of PH Coral Reefs and Prospects for the Near Future,” recommended to “fix the reef first before transplant.”
“Reefs do not form overnight. They take thousands of years to develop,” he said adding that the coral reef crisis cannot be resolved by coral gardening as it is expensive and is not practical.
Coral gardening is the cultivation of corals for commercial purposes or coral reef restoration.
According to him, the method is also risky as instead of actually repairing the damaged coral reef, it might harm the reef even more.
Another sad reality is that, he said, 80 percent of the coral mortality is actually caused by various human activities and not natural calamities.
Take for example the case of the minesweeper ship USS Guardian that on Jan. 17, 2013 ran aground on the south atoll of the Tubbataha Reefs, a delicate ecosystem in the Sulu Sea treasured for its rich marine biodiversity.
The grounding damaged 2,345 square meters of coral on the reefs, considered a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“The better thing to do is to take care of the remaining reefs,” he said.
Reefs samples were randomly selected from around the country, with the number of assessment stations for each of six biogeographic regions stratified by the total area of reefs in each of these regions. (pia caraga)