The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau has asked local government units to demarcate “no fishing” zones in “coral-bleached” Snake Island in Palawan to help replenish the depleting fish inventory in what is also a tourist haven.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources closed Snake Island to the public in 2012 after finding evidence of coral bleaching.
While a rehabilitation program has shown initial success, ERDB’s monitoring team still finds the reason to advise a fishing ban in identified areas to save the coral reefs in the fringing and winding 7.5-hectare island.
A 2016 review of DENR-ERDB discovered that significant portions of the reef have started to provide spaces for settlement of young coral colonies.
However, some parts have been found to have a high algal cover (algal bloom) which is known to hinder the recovery of affected corals.
Algal-feeding fish such as the parrotfishes, siganids, acanthurids, and wrasses among others were observed but these must be constantly protected from fishing to increase their meager numbers.
“In order to protect the Island and to help in the recovery of the corals in the area, there is a need to delineate areas for fishing and non-fishing. This will allow the coral reefs to recover,” ERDB director Sofio Quintana said.
“Hard corals can survive a bleaching event and return to their normal state unless the unfavorable conditions continue for a prolonged period of time,” added Jose Isidro Michael Padin, ERDB Supervising Science Research Specialist.
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