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PIA Press Release

BFAR XI supports Coral Triangle initiative

by Rose B Palacio

Davao City (1 August) -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in region eleven supports the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) following the call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on all people "men and women from all walks of life and organizations, public, private and governmental" to fully support the CTI and the universal effort of making the "world a better place."

BFAR XI Director George Campeon admitted that the illegal and overfishing and proliferation of wastes in the ocean and the seas are major causes that affect our corals and marine resources and biodiversity.

The Coral Triangle covers a vast expanse of ocean totaling 5.7 million square kilometers of the sea and six countries including the Philippines, the Solomon islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

Together, these countries boast the richest concentration of corals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks and marine plants in the world.

Quoting the Nature Conservancy report of 2002, up to 64 percent of Southeast Asia's reefs were threatened by over-fishing, with 66 percent of the reefs in the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan and 50 percent of the reefs in Indonesia were being impaired by destructive fishing methods.

The report added that 37 percent of the Southeast Asia's reefs were at risk because of pollution arising from coastal development and changes in land use.

Climate change worsens the situation as it accelerates the rate of destruction. Coral loss in Asian waters could well reach by 30 percent by 2030 as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In Davao region, Director Campeon said the Bantay Dagat program of the government has been going on in coordination with other government entities like the Philippine Coastguard, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine National Police, the MARINA and other non-government organizations including environmentalists.

But there is need to provide adequate resources and facilities to sustain this particular project and conserve our marine biodiversity, he said.

We need a clean and sound environment to sustain economic development in our country, Director Campeon said. (PIA) [top]

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