BALANGA, Bataan – The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) are implementing a coral reef restoration project in the coastal towns of Bagac, Bataan and Subic, Zambales.
The project involves roll out of coral transplantation technology using asexually reproduced corals to improve productivity of coral resources.
Dr. Hermogenes Paguia, BPSU OIC Vice President for Research, Extension, and Training Services and project leader, said the university conducts the monitoring aspect of the project while the Sangkalikasan Producer Cooperative plants the corals.
He said PCAARRD provides the funding that started in 2014 and set to finish this year. He added 25 coral fragments are being planted in one square meter area. A coral nursery was established under the sea.
Paguia is the project leader in monitoring the Bagac area. On the other hand, BPSU VP for Research, Extension, and Training Services (on leave) Prof. Rudy Flores, is the monitoring project leader in Subic.
Sol Rosano, support staff, said members of BPSU team involved in the project underwent formal training in diving, and are now certified divers.
Paguia said seminars are being conducted to affected communities educating them on the value of coral restoration in climate change mitigation, sustainable fisheries, and underwater tourism.
He said the communities are also educated on the effects of destructive fishing practices to marine resources. He pointed out the involvement of the community is an integral component of the project.
Philippine coral reefs are in serious state of deterioration and continue to suffer massive decline in abundance, diversity and habitat structure due to anthropogenic activities such as pollution, overfishing, destructive fishing practices using dynamite or cyanide, collecting live corals for the aquarium market and mining coral for building.
Natural factors such as typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes have also contributed to the destruction of coral reefs as these produce strong waves that break apart or flatten large coral heads, and scatter fragments.