Tuesday, June 24, 2008

KGMA 6/24/08

Man-made threats imperil marine biodiversity of Coral Triangle, says
RP official

WASHINGTON (via PLDT) – Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap warned here
Tuesday that the Coral Triangle, which holds more than 76 percent of
the world's marine biodiversity, is in great peril from man-made stresses.

Overfishing, the proliferation of non-biodegradable wastes in the seas
and oceans, and coral bleaching create a perilous impact on the Coral
Triangle's biodiversity, Yap said in his speech during the Coral
Triangle Initiative (CTI) stakeholders' luncheon held at the Willard
Hotel here.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who addressed the CTI forum ahead
of Yap, called on all people, "men and women from all walks of life
and organizations, public, private and governmental," to support the
CTI and the universal effort of making the "world a better place."

Yap said that to avoid the catastrophe that would ensue if the attack
on marine biodiversity remains unchecked, the world must act now to
protect and preserve the Coral Triangle.

He urged CTI partners and donors to work together in crafting win-win
solutions to ensure the protection and preservation of the marine
biodiversity in the Coral Triangle.

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

Quoting the Nature Conservancy report of 2002, Yap said that up to 64
percent of Southeast Asia's reefs were threatened by overfishing, 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.

He added that 37 percent of 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 30 percent by
2030 as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC)," Yap said.

The spawning area of yellow fin, big eye, skipjack and the blue fin
tuna, the Coral Triangle is also home to 75 percent of all coral
species known to science, 75 percent of the world's mangrove species,
45 percent of the world's sea grass species, 58 percent of tropical
marine mulluscs, more than 3,000 species of fish, 22 species of marine
mammals, and six of seven species of marine turtles.

Fortunately, Yap pointed out, the grave threat to the world's
diversity has not been lost on people of the CIT countries. They are
bonding together to preserve the marine biodiversity of the Coral
Triangle through bilateral and trilateral collaborations that advance
the idea and cause of responsible growth.

No comments: