Philippines annual cost of erosion prevention of coral reefs and mangroves, estimated at $326 Million
Southeast Asia’s coral reefs have become the most threatened in the world because of over-fishing and destructive fishing methods employed.
The threat is particularly high in the Philippines and central Indonesia, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) told the 11 visiting journalists from Southeast Asia and Fellows of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa) Journalism Program 2012 here.
Data presented by UN officials show that 95 percent of Southeast Asia’s coral reefs are the most threatened in the world.
Jerker Tamelander, UNEP coral reef unit chief said that a fifth of the world’s coral reefs have been lost and more than 60 percent is under immediate and direct threat.
“The rate of loss is particularly high in Southeast Asia, the global center of biodiversity. At least 275 million people depend directly on reefs for livelihood and sustenance. In the Philippines, the annual value of erosion prevention to coral reefs and mangroves has been estimated at $326 million,” Tamelander said.
Data indicate that SE Asia has the most extensive and diverse coral reefs in the world or about 28 percent of the world’s total reef spread, or almost 70,000 square kilometers More than 138 million people live on the shoreline of SE Asian nations within 30 kilometers of a coral reef which is more than every other coral region combined according to UNEP official. “The reefs in this region are most threatened in the world, nearly 95 percent of reefs are threatened and about 50 percent are in the high or very high threat categories. Overfishing and destructive fishing drive much of the threat in this region, although watershed-based pollution and coastal development are also significant but the threat is particularly high in the Philippines and central Indonesia,” the UN official said.
Healthy reefs can produce up to 35 tons of fish per square kilometer each year. There is a catch reduction of 67 tons per square kilometer of clear-cut mangrove forest.
Australia has more reefs than any other single nation according to a UNEP study. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef off the continent’s northeastern shore cover 42,000 square kilometers or 17 percent of the global total reef spread.
Compared to other regions’ reefs, Australia’s reefs have the least percentage of being wrecked— some 3.5 million people live on Australia’s northeastern coast about 30km off a coral reef. Australia recorded the lowest coastal population density compared to any region, the study said. “Our analysis identifies both marine-based pollution and watershed-based pollution as the dominant threats but vast areas of the reef are remote from such impacts,” UNEP report stressed.
The Pacific contains more than a quarter of the world’s reef—spanning almost half of the globe or nearly 66,000sq km. About 7.5 million people live on the coast within 30km. of coral reef in the Pacific, representing 50 percent of the total population of the region.
Overfishing and run-off from land-based sources are the predominant threats though coastal development is also a major pressure in some areas. Although the wider Pacific region has long enjoyed relatively low pressure on coastal resources, almost 50 percent of reefs are currently considered threatened with 20 percent rated as high or very high, UNEP report said. Written : 5th July 2012 by Rhaydz B. Barcia-