PAEMB approves coral transplantation project PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2015 11:41

The Protected Area and Ecotourism Management Board (PAEMB) has approved the implementation of a coral reef rehabilitation project in Sta. Cruz Island last Friday, March 13.

To be spearheaded jointly by the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) and the Sangkalikasan Producers Cooperative (SPC), the project, entitled “Application of Coral Transplantation Technology to Harness Potentials of Sta. Cruz Islands, Zamboanga City for Underwater Tourism and Improved Productivity of the Coral Reef Resources”, will involve transplanting 10,000 live coral fragments and setting-up 10 coral nursery units (CNUs) using transplanting technologies approved by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

It will also identify and establish a stream of dive sites, train stakeholders, partners, and community-based stewards to jumpstart and sustain coral restoration and eco-tourism, and promote science-based coral reef management.

Professor Arthur Panganiban of the ZSCMST said that the project is an active restoration initiative to mitigate the degradation of coral reefs caused by overexploitation, pollution, and other destructive practices, to be implemented at the western part of the Great Sta. Cruz Island for a span of one year.

“Few of the areas are in excellent condition. The other dive sites are parang rubble na lang, and these areas are the target of the rehabilitation,” explained Panganiban, when asked about the condition of the coral reefs within the area of the Great Sta. Cruz Island.

Panganiban further emphasized that the protection of coral reefs will need to combine local management efforts with active restoration initiatives such as coral transplantation, noting that passive restoration is not enough as coral reef ecosystems are degraded at a rate that is too fast for nature to catch up or recover.

Coral transplantation is defined as the physical relocation of coral from a site of inhospitable conditions to where the coral is more likely to thrive.

The Sangkalikasan Producers Cooperative (SPC), ZSCMST’s partner in the initiative, is an NGO accredited by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) to undertake coral restoration. — Jasmine Mohammadsali