EDITORIAL| Protecting our coral reefs

CORALS are an important part of marine biodiversity. Our country has a long coastline and corals play a crucial role in providing food and livelihood for those living in coastal villages. This is the reason why many parts of our seas are declared as marine protected area.

The Taku Tago Reef in Brgy. Bawing in General Santos City is part of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, which covers a total of 211,913 hectares. Last week, a Panamanian-registered reefer vessel M/CV Tiara 108 run aground, destroying coral reefs and artificial reef installed in the area. The estimated area damaged was pegged by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to be 800 square meters.

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According to the Coral Reef Alliance (www. Coral.org) coral reefs are ‘believed by many to have the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet—even more than a tropical rainforest. Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than twenty-five percent of marine life.

“Why is that important? A highly biodiverse ecosystem, one with many different species, is often more resilient to changing conditions and can better withstand significant disturbances.

“In addition, ecosystem services—benefits that humans receive from natural environments—are often greater in highly diverse places. Coral reefs, thanks to their diversity, provide millions of people with food, medicine, protection from storms, and revenue from fishing and tourism. An estimated six million fishermen in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide—over a quarter of the world’s small-scale fishermen—harvest from coral reefs.”

Keeping our coral reefs healthy should be a priority concern anywhere in the country and this starts with implementing laws protecting our marine life.

Posted in Opinion