The Department of Science and Technology has collaborated with the provincial government of Marinduque, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), local government units and their fisherfolk to deploy coral transplantation technology off the coast of Buenavista, Marinduque, the DOST said in a news release.
This is the first large-scale restoration effort in the Mimaropa region that seeks to reverse reef degradation and improve the productivity of marine resources.
Ten coral nursery units (CNUs) were placed in the Marine Protected Areas of Tungib-Lipata in Buenavista on June 10 and 11, while another 10 CNUs were established in Poctoy, Torrijos, on June 22 and 23.
CNUs are used to facilitate the growth of the asexually reproduced corals or live coral fragments—also known as the “corals of opportunity” (COPs)—dislodged from a colony through the natural process of fragmentation.
CNUs are set up 25 feet underwater with each CNU designed to hold 500 COPs per batch several times a year.
The technology was developed by the University of San Carlos under the “Filipinnovation on Coral Reef Restoration Program” of the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.
In 2018, the DOST-Mimaropa initiated the assessment of coral reef areas in Marinduque through the adoption of the Automated Rapid Reef Assessment System (Arras) that successfully generated a comprehensive report and maps of the coral reef and seagrasses.
Arras is a program for coral reef monitoring developed by the University of the Philippines Diliman and funded by the DOST.
The long-term monitoring project revealed that major areas in the province have no live coral cover due to siltation and sedimentation along the coast. Hence, a high priority for management and protection was recommended for these degraded areas.
For a holistic approach to address the problem, DOST-Mimaropa collaborated with different stakeholders, including government agencies and communities.
The provincial offices of the BFAR and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources conducted their monitoring and evaluation to provide pertinent data for the project and processed the necessary permits.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Marinduque and Marinduque State College engaged experts to install, monitor and maintain these CNUs and covered training expenses.
DOST-Mimaropa led in procuring and deploying the CNUs, provided technical diving experts, conducted periodic monitoring and evaluation of the coral’s growth and survivorship and conducted forum and other awareness activities.
It also ensured that communities were involved in the activities—from planting the coral fragments to setting up the CNUs.
The office plans to deploy the technology to six other municipalities in Marinduque by the end of July.
S&T Media Service