News / Asia

    With Reefs Under Threat, Philippines Plants Coral Colonies

    FILE - A large piece of coral in Queensland, Australia. Some say restoring the Philippines' reefs could contribute $1.5 billion to the country’s economy through tourism and fishing.
    FILE - A large piece of coral in Queensland, Australia. Some say restoring the Philippines' reefs could contribute $1.5 billion to the country’s economy through tourism and fishing.

    Devastated coral reefs in the Philippines are sparking an effort to have people rebuild the underwater ecosystems with putty, nails and ‘Filipinnovation’.

    Researchers estimate that 70 percent of the Philippines’ corals have been damaged, so they are trying to reverse the trend. They're targeting the worst-hit areas by adding coral that has been either farmed or transplanted from more fertile reefs.

    Nomer Varua is part of a team at Bataan Peninsula State University that’s restoring the reefs, which he says contribute 1.5 billion dollars to his country’s economy through tourism and fishing.

    “Definitely, the Philippines is in danger of losing its valuable marine biodiversity,” Varua said Thursday in a presentation at the International Conference on Environment and Renewable Energy, in Ho Chi Minh City. “The Philippines needs to address the problem because we all know for a fact that corals are the most productive ecosystem on earth.”

    The university has teamed up with local and national governments, which provide funding, and the army, which guards areas in need of protection.

    FILE - A scuba diver swims above a bed of corals off Malaysia's Tioman island in the South China Sea. Varua and his colleagues have not yet determined how their coral nurseries have been affected by the typhoons that hit the Philippines last summer.
    FILE - A scuba diver swims above a bed of corals off Malaysia's Tioman island in the South China Sea. Varua and his colleagues have not yet determined how their coral nurseries have been affected by the typhoons that hit the Philippines last summer.

    Dynamite fishing, global warming

    This is just one of many regions, especially in the Asia-Pacific, where corals are under threat from global warming, fishing with dynamite or poison, pollution, erosion, careless tourism, and coral mining.

    “Coral reefs have survived tens of thousands of years of natural change, but many of them may not be able to survive the havoc brought by humankind,” the World Wildlife Fund says.

    Under the so-called “Filipinnovation” program, researchers in the Philippines built 10 metal nurseries that looked like bed frames and covered them with epoxy paint so they wouldn't rust underwater. They attached natural corals and tended to them for months, until they grew 5-6 cm on average.

    The farmed corals, along with corals that hadn't been cultivated, were then installed in sparse ecosystems using marine putty, nails, and plastic cable ties.

    About 90 percent of the corals survived, Varua said at the conference, hosted by the Asia-Pacific Chemical, Biological & Environmental Engineering Society.

    Giant chess match

    Until recently, scientists didn't even know if such coral colonies could work, according to the Nature Conservancy. But now the organization has been able to harvest corals from its own concrete gardens, which resemble “a giant chess competition on the ocean floor.”

    “This innovative nursery and restoration strategy was mostly a theory a decade ago,” the Conservancy says on its website.

    FILE - Researchers estimate that 70 percent of the Philippines’ corals, such as this Gorgonian sea fan, have been damaged.
    FILE - Researchers estimate that 70 percent of the Philippines’ corals, such as this Gorgonian sea fan, have been damaged.

    The Nature Conservancy's experiment took place off the Florida Keys, while countries from Australia to Indonesia are testing out their own preservation strategies.

    In Vietnam, abusive fishing is the main culprit behind coral destruction. Officials have responded by cordoning off certain areas to protect these “rainforests of the sea,” prohibiting coral exploitation and harmful fishing. The United Nations has also recommended that Hanoi treat wastewater and other refuse, engage local communities to pitch in, develop eco-tourism, and replace creatures that prey on corals, like crown-of-thorns starfish, with more beneficial organisms, like urchins and sea snails.

    Natural disasters

    Varua and his colleagues have not yet determined how their coral nurseries have been affected by the typhoons that hit the Philippines last summer. Reefs can be decimated by cyclones, but they also can buffer nearby residents from such natural disasters.

    The team is nevertheless optimistic about the potential of Filipinnovation.

    “After the completion of this project, it is envisioned that this will jumpstart [a] coral restoration service industry,” the Bataan group wrote in an academic paper.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora