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Official: Over 80% of Coral Reefs in Philippine's Davao Gulf Degraded; Pollution, Cyanide Fishing Blamed

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DAVAO CITY, The Philippines -- Less than 20 percent of coral reefs in the Davao Gulf are in good condition, an environment official in Southern Mindanao said in Wednesday's Ugnayan sa Royal Mandaya.

“The coral reefs in almost all areas of Davao Gulf are in bad condition,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional technical director Emmanuel Isip.

Isip said several factors have contributed to the current state of the coral reefs in the gulf.

There is dynamite fishing and other destructive fishing methods, marine pollution where solid waste enters the sea, siltation, and cyanide fishing.

"Some people use cyanide, they will spray it so that fishes come out from coral reefs, especially now that there is a good market for aquarium fishes," Isip said.

But while cyanide does flush out the targeted fish, those that remain, including the corals, are killed.

Fish caught using cyanide also dies after a few days.

According to Isip, the lifespan of a coral reel can reach up to 100 years but once destroyed it takes decades before it can regenerate.

Isip said the DENR, with the help of the City Government and non-government organizations, is addressing the problem in a holistic approach. Included in this action plan is the declaration of some areas of coral reefs as marine protected zones.

Stella A. Estremera, representing Aquamarine Protection and Preservation Alliance--a group of divers volunteering for the environment, said their group takes photos and videos of coral reefs and shows them to the public with the hope of making people appreciate the sea and its riches.

Almost all human activity affects the sea.

One of the greatest problems facing the Davao Gulf today is not the regeneration of corals blasted more than 20 years ago but the heavy siltation, especially along coastal waters.

Silt is brought in by rivers, creeks, or canals from the uplands to residential areas downhill and then to the sea.

Deforestation of an upland area or indiscriminate cutting of trees contributes greatly to the destruction of the gulf.

Garbage too can smother corals and can deprive them of much-needed sunlight.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.


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