LGUs told to address depleting stocks in Snake Island
The Ecosystems Research & Development Bureau (ERDB) has asked the local government units (LGUs) in Palawan to demarcate “no fishing” zones in “coral bleached” Snake Island to help replenish depleting fish inventory in what is also considered a tourist haven.
In 2012, the government closed the Snake Island from the public.
“While a rehabilitation program has shown initial success, ERDB’s monitoring team still finds reason to advise a fishing ban in identified areas to save the coral reefs in the fringing and winding 7.5 hectare island,” ERDB said in a statement.
Aside from bleaching, another factor that can hinder the recovery of the coral reef is the growing population of sea stars.
These sea stars belong to a species which feed on healthy coral polyps leading to the bleaching of some Acroporid corals. The outbreak of sea stars may be caused by increased nutrients in the water or the removal of its predators, or both.
The ERDB research team is continuously monitoring its population and is looking at the possibility of resorting to necessary control methods such as manual removal or induced death.
ERDB Director Sofio Quintana said in order to protect the Island and to help in the recovery of the corals in the area, there is really a need to delineate areas for fishing and non-fishing. This will allow the coral reefs to recover.
“Hard corals can survive a bleaching event and return to their normal state unless the unfavorable conditions continue for a prolonged period of time,” he said.
Among the other solutions that are now being discussed are science-based coral transplantation, restocking of herbivorous fingerlings, and the continuous monitoring of water and other marine resources of the island.