Marine scientist says China destroying corals

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CORON, Palawan -- National scientist Dr. Angel Alcala warned on Thursday, June 11, of an impending decline in fisheries production affecting mainly the Philippines and Vietnam as a result of massive coral destruction resulting from China’s widespread seabed dredging activities in the Spratlys.


Alcala, a marine scientist and former environment secretary, described the environmental impact of China’s construction activities as “severe” and would affect not only Vietnam and the Philippines but all other countries around the South China Sea.

“The widespread dredging being done by China is an irresponsible act because all the nations around the South China Sea is going to be affected,” Alcala said at the start of the two-day seminar for media practitioners from different regions in the Philippines held at Corto del Mar Hotel here.

The seminar, organized by the United States Embassy, is titled “Writing for Survival: Media for Marine Conservation.”

Alcala noted that Chinese activities in the Spratlys have destroyed “important atolls that are the main source of fish larvae in the entire South China Sea.”

China has undertaken massive reclamation in the West Philippine Sea and other areas in the Spratlys, which are jointly claimed by several Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, by dredging sand around them and piling them up atop partially submerged coral reefs to create artificial islands.

Alcala explained that the Spratlys is a major source of fisheries for various countries around it because of the presence of atolls not commonly found in the entire South China Sea.

The atolls, he explained, are important to fisheries because they provide the spawning ground for fish inside the lagoons formed between the coral reef structures.

“When the water overflows from these lagoons, the fish larvae is transported by sea current throughout the entire South China Sea,” he said.

The Filipino Express

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