The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) funded a P5-million project on the “Application of Coral Transplantation Technology to Improve Productivity of Coral Reef Resources for Responsible and Sustainable Fisheries and Harness Potentials of the Sta. Cruz Islands in Zamboanga City for Underwater Tourism.”
The implementing agencies that will run the project are the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, an academic institution which has the capability on the said undertaking and designated to do the monitoring and the Sangkalisan Producer Cooperative (SPC),a non-government organization that is accredited by PCAARRD to undertake coral restoration using technologies that have been tested and recommended for roll-out by the DOST.
The roll out of the Coral Transplantation Technology is not new since the first batch that ran the said project in Mindanao was given to the MSU Tawi-Tawi and the second batch constitute Palawan, Caraga, Zamboanga and General Santos where this project is the first ever in Zamboanga. The objective of the project is to balance out coral transplantation and nursery establishment using asexually reproduced transplantation materials to improve productivity of coral resources for sustainable fisheries and enhanced underwater tourism.
In the Philippines, of the more than 1,000 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established, only 20% is functioning and because of the critical and threatening condition of the coral reefs at the Sta. Cruz Islands, a relocation of the coral from a site of inhospitable conditions to where the coral is more likely to thrive crop up. The said area will be set-up and deployed with 10) Coral Nursery Units (CNUs) with 10,000 live coral fragments or “corals of opportunities” transplantation to restore damaged reef areas. Included in the project is the training of (30 human resources composed of representatives from ZSCMST ( Mr. Raymond Antonio M Lim, Prof. Oliver D. Tito, Mr. Eric E. Misa, Mr. Darwin A. Tumanda and Mr. Rodolfo L. Mamhot) and concerned military units in the coral rehabilitation site based on the LGU and Protected Area Environment Management Bureau (PAEMB) Security Plan for the Sta. Cruz Islands, and eight community-based stewards who were already trained by Dr. Michael Macrohon in scuba diving. They will initially constitute the pool of human resources to jumpstart and sustain coral restoration and eco- tourism at Sta. Cruz Islands. The said project will also promote Science-based Coral Reef Management, a good gesture of paying back to mother nature.
A meeting was arranged by the Protected Area Environment Management Bureau (PAEMB) held at the City Hall last March 13, 2015. It was attended by the concerned agencies to include local government representatives presided by Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde. The project prime movers requested for an approval from the PAEMB of the project to be effected and executed, Dr. Milavel Depacaquivo-Nazario, ZSCMST President, with Prof. Arthur Panganiban, ZSCMST Planning Officer, and Co-Project Leader of the DOST-PCAARRD Coral Restoration, made a presentation of the project. With the authorization from the PAEMB the application of the Coral Transplantation Technology in Sta. Cruz Island is now streaming. — Prof. Marife R. Villafranca/Director, ZSCMST Media Affairs