BALANGA CITY, 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) will conduct a coral reef restoration project in the coastal towns of Bagac, Bataan and Subic, Zambales.
Technology Transfer and Promotion Division and Applied Communications Department PCAARRD Director Dr. Melvin Carlos and BPSU President Delfin Magpantay led the signing of the memorandum of agreement for the project at the BPSU main campus here on Wednesday. BPSU has long been an effective partner of PCAARRD in research development.
Carlos said the project will involve roll out of coral transplantation technology using asexually reproduced corals to improve productivity of coral resources for sustainable fisheries and enhanced underwater tourism. In the Philippines, being an archipelagic country, coral reefs play a vital role in nation building as it contributes to at least P 70 billion annually to the economy.
The competitive advantage of the Philippines is its rich marine diversity which earned the distinction from Dr. Kent Carpenter, a world-renowned marine biologist, as being “the center of marine biodiversity in the world”.
Unfortunately, Philippine coral reefs are in serious 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.
The DOST, in cognizance of the importance of coral reefs to the economy, initiated an active reef restoration research and development in 2010. The department targets to transplant the largest number of coral fragments in the country at 514,665 by next year.
The Sangkalikasan Producer Cooperative is also a partner in the coral reef restoration project in the towns of Bagac and Subic. Retired Army General Jose Mabanta of the cooperative joined the MOA signing. He will be the project leader of the coral restoration. Other partners in the project are concerned local government units and the Philippine Army.