By Martin Sadongdong
Several experts and marine biologists recommended science-based solutions to address issues hounding the crisis on coral reefs preservation in the country during a recent forum organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
In a bulletin post by the DOST, Dr. Wilfredo Roehl Licuanan, a biology professor at the De La Salle University, advised “take seriously the fixing of coral reefs first before doing a coral transplant to replace the damaged ones” during his talk titled “Current Status of PH Coral Reefs and Prospects for the Near Future” at Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (DOST-PCAARRD)’s National Coral Research and Development Program forum.
“Reefs do not form overnight. They take thousands of years to develop,” Licuanan said. He added that coral reef crisis cannot be solved by coral gardening, the cultivation of corals for commercial purposes or coral reef restoration, as it is expensive and is not practical.
Licuanan also bared 80 percent of the coral mortality is actually caused by various human activities and not natural calamities.
He cited the case of the minesweeper ship USS Guardian that ran aground on the south atoll of the Tubbataha Reefs, a delicate ecosystem in the Sulu Sea treasured for its rich marine biodiversity, in 2013.
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 (UNESCO), he added.
“The better thing to do is to take care of the remaining reefs,” he said.
Tags: coral mortality, coral reef preservation, coral reefs, DOST, Experts call for coral reef preservation, marine biologists, Tubbataha Reefs