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100 years needed for a 10th of RP corals to recover

September 20, 2006

By Blanche Rivera
Inquirer

IT will take a hundred years to replenish a tenth of the country’s damaged coral reefs, according to a marine scientist specializing on coral reef ecology.

At the rate the Philippines is establishing marine protected areas (MPA), which facilitate the rehabilitation of coral reefs, it could take up to 2101 to manage 10 percent of the country’s reef areas, said Porfirio Aliño, coordinator of the MPA Support Network in the Philippines.

The Philippines, dubbed as the center of marine biodiversity in the world, has 17,000 sq km of coral reefs. According to a World Bank report, only five percent of the reefs are in excellent condition while the rest are either threatened or critical.

“Based on the trend in the establishment of MPAs, it could take up to 2101 to effectively manage the reefs. Of course, if people suddenly put up more marine sanctuaries, it could be sooner than that [2101],” Aliño said in an interview.

He noted an increasing number of MPAs as awareness was raised among fishing-dependent communities and local government units. From some 50 MPAs in the 1970s, the number rose to 200 in the 1980s and around 500 today.

Conservationists have branded the MPAs as mere paper parks, but according to Aliño, there has been an absolute improvement, with about 30 percent of the MPAs now managed and regularly patrolled.

(For the full story, click 100 years, Sept. 20, 2006.)

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