Threats to coral reefs continue, says Paje

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Graphic on Asia’s Coral Triangle, which contains nearly 30 percent of the world’s reefs and more than 3,000 species of fish. AFP

MANILA, Philippines—Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Saturday said more action was needed to save the reefs of the Coral Triangle, an important marine area encompassing Asia Pacific countries, including the Philippines, in the face of growing threats to their ecosystems from overfishing,  pollution and climate change.

While the Philippines has taken steps to protect its reefs and the marine life they host, more effort is necessary to develop sustainable solutions for the threatened reefs in the Coral Triangle, a global hot spot of marine biodiversity, Paje said.

“We face a crisis on the continued degradation of our fragile ecosystems and resources that could endanger the survival and quality of life of future generations,” Paje said in a press release. “Investing in coastal and marine protection can certainly help ensure a better future for our children and a better environment for all.”

Last week, the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI)-Philippines National Coordinating Committee, which is co-chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, hosted a CTI Forum in Makati City.

The event also saw the launch of the Sustainable Coral Reef Ecosystem Management Program or SCREMP, designed by the Philippine government to more effectively protect and rehabilitate the coral reefs in the region.

SCREMP will focus on habitat conservation and protection, as well as enhancing public awareness and protection, to mitigate and reverse the damage brought by unsustainable human activities and climate change, Paje said.

The Coral Triangle also covers the exclusive economic zones of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.

The Coral Triangle is home to more than a third of the world’s coral reefs, including over 600 different species of reef-building coral and 3,000 species of reef fish, providing food and income to more than 100 million people working in marine-based industries throughout the region.

“At the apex of the Coral Triangle or the world’s center of marine biodiversity is the Philippines. We are one of the 18 megadiverse countries that contain 75 percent of the global biodiversity. And yet, we, too, are one of the hottest of the marine biodiversity hotspots in the world,” Paje said.

According to a study by the World Resources Institute called “Reefs at Risk,” about 85 percent of the reefs in the Coral Triangle are in peril. It noted that threats to the region come from overfishing, watershed pollution and coastal development.

Factors such as climate change and ocean acidification increase the number of threatened reefs to 90 percent, the study added.

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  • DGuardian

    Ang gobyerno ba ng Pilipinas ay napapangalagaan ang ating mga coral reefs? Totoo ngang ang Pilipinas ang namumukod-tangi sa marine biodiversity sa Coral Triangle, subali’t ang pamahalaan naman ng Pilipinas ay patuloy na nagpapabaya sa pagprotekta sa ating karagatan. Tanging ang Tubbataha Reef lamang at mangilan-ngilang marine sanctuaries ang may suportang natatanggap mula sa ating gobyerno, subali’t dahil sa malawakang pagnanakaw sa salapi ng mga taxpayers ay ni hindi makabili ng mga patrol boats ang Coast Guards upang mabantayan ang mismong Tubbataha at ang mga karagatan ng Pilipinas. Bukod sa mga mangingisdang Pilipino na gumagamit ng dinamita sa pangingisda na nagwawasak sa mga coral reefs, marami ding mga Chinese at iba pang mga dayuhang poachers ang nagnanakaw hindi lamang ng ating mga endangered species, kundi maging ng ating mga corals. Mahusay ang speech writer ni DENR Secretary Ramon Paje. Napakaganda ng mga sinasabi, subali’t kung ang track record naman ng DENR at ni Secretary Paje sa pangangalaga sa ating environment, aquatic/marine and other natural resources ang pagbabatayan ay kabaligtaran ng kanyang mga sinasabi ang kanyang pinaggagagawa at pati ng mga tauhan niya.

  • surigao_miners

    ito na naman ang GAGONG PAJE na ito…natatakot ka masira mga coral refs pero hinayaan mo sirain ng mga illegal miners ang kalikasan lalo na sa SURIGAO DEL NORTE AT SURIGAO DEL SUR area…isa kang UGOK BUGOK!

  • walaywalay

    Quit pampering and start prosecuting heavily fining and imprisoning the Filipino poachers like those who wiped out the uncharted reefs off Cotabato with dynamite and cyanide an area twice the size of MANILA hundreds of nightly calls to report this went unanswered and ignored–so don’t act like you care

    • crazy_horse_101010

      same way down here they are blasting every night. in the cebu papers they caught a banca blasting. the mayors husband was on board. they blast in front of tourist beaches and brgy halls everyone just watches

      • walaywalay

        yes and respond to absolutely ZERO>>>>>UNLESS……The report concerns non filipino……because >>NON-FILIPINO=$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • boybakal

    Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Saturday said more action was needed to save the reefs of the Coral Triangle,

    You are the Head….you should act not talk.

  • Billy Reyes

    kung matanggal na ang Pork barrel dapat ilagay na lang ang pera sa Environment Conservation Project. Protect our seas, plant more trees etc., they should declare more Marine Protected Areas like Tubatahha in Palawan its a great success. Its give way to Eco Tourism, more livelihood, and the most important thing millions of families in the Philippines depend in our environment/seas to survive. Fishing will be more sustainable in the next generation of Filipinos to come if we protect our seas.

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