Reef domes help revive marine life in Boracay Island.
BORACAY ISLAND, AKLAN – Aside from its powdery white-sand beaches, Boracay’s reef systems also make this island-paradise a popular destination for international divers.
But its commercialization came with a heavy price and these natural reef systems – some centuries old – have been suffering from the brunt of destruction by boats.
In an effort to stem the problem, the Boracay Beach Management Council, led by Mayor John Yap, recently embarked on an ecological project to deploy artificial reef domes about 300 meters from Boracay’s beaches.
The reef domes were manufactured by the Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI) using recycled materials. The domes would serve as “anchors” for organisms that would eventually become corals. Having a coral system would provide shelter for fishes to breed.Last December, several reef domes were deployed, with another 10 deployed last January 17. The first batch of domes has already shown some coral growths. The project is supported by several organizations including Petron Foundation and San Miguel Corporation.
In an interview, Boracay Mayor John Yap said the reef dome deployment is part of the LGU’s goals of reinvigorating the coastal and marine ecology of the island, whose popularity is dependent on its marine sanctuaries for foreign divers.
Citing a previous survey, Yap stressed on the gradual deterioration of coral reefs around Boracay, which is now only around 15 to 20 percent. This has seriously affected the island’s ability to sustain its diving tourism industry as well as the local fishing community.
Another study by the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc (CCEFI) showed that the west side of Boracay only has 23 percent live corals while 77 percent are dead.
Several other studies affirmed the condition of the reefs around Boracay, including studies by Xavier University and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Yap said that one of the goals is to conduct a number of information drive for tourists on the local government’s ecological activities
“We aim to get everyone to be part of the solution. We couldn’t do this without everyone’s help,” he said.
By Alexander Villafania January 30, 2012