Siaoliouciou coral reefs are seemingly doomed: specialists

CORAL KILLERS:
Frequent improvement of coastal areas, extreme plant and algae progress, and tourism have been recognized as potential causes for lowered reefs

  • By Shelley Shan / Employees reporter

Coral reefs surrounding Siaoliouciou Island (小琉球) are usually not more likely to get well naturally after the share of stay coral cowl dropped to 10 to twenty p.c, the bottom within the nation’s waters, specialists advised a information convention in Taipei yesterday.

The Taiwan Environmental Data Affiliation launched the outcomes of a examine from 2009 to 2020 forward of World Oceans Day immediately.

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Since 2009, the affiliation has been monitoring adjustments in coral reefs off Taiwan’s north, northeast, east and south coasts, in addition to these off Inexperienced Island (綠島), Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), Siaoliouciou and Penghu County, it stated.

Almost 600 educated divers have been recruited to gather information utilizing the line-intercept-transect methodology.

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The affiliation rated the situation of coral reefs in these areas. A purple alert was given to coral reefs off the north, northeast and east coasts, in addition to these off Siaoliouciou, because the well being of those reefs is in peril, it stated.

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A yellow alert was given to reefs surrounding Inexperienced Island, Kenting Nationwide Park and 4 islets south of Penghu.

Coral reefs surrounding Orchid Island got a inexperienced score, as they’re in good well being, the affiliation stated, including that it’s the solely place in Taiwan with wholesome coral reefs.

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The stay coral cowl share was about 20 to 30 p.c off the north and northeast coasts, and about 30 to 40 p.c alongside the east coast, the examine discovered.

Frequent improvement of coastal areas, extreme plant and algae progress, and tourism actions have been recognized as potential causes for the lowered stay coral cowl in these areas, the affiliation stated.

The decline in stay coral cowl off Kenting, Siaoliouciou, Orchid Island and Penghu occurred because of bleaching brought on by rising sea temperatures, the affiliation stated.

Whereas coral reefs off Orchid Island, Kenting and Penghu have recovered barely, these surrounding Siaoliouciou had proven no signal of pure restoration as of 2020, with the stay coral cowl share at 10 to twenty p.c, it added.

Allen Chen (陳昭倫), a analysis fellow at Academia Sinica’s Biodiversity Analysis Middle, stated Siaoliouciou is a coral island, however the reefs there have continued to say no over the previous 20 to 30 years.

“Academically speaking, coral reefs in Siaoliouciou have passed the critical point for resilient recovery of an ecosystem. It is like a golf ball falling into a hole: It is impossible for the ball to crawl back to the surface by itself. We need to figure out ways to help bring the ball back to the surface,” Chen stated.

As coral reefs in Siaoliouciou are unlikely to get well naturally, the federal government ought to take into account limiting vacationers within the space, management air pollution and implement different conservation measures, he stated.

Affiliation secretary-general Chen Juei-pin (陳瑞賓) stated Taiwan urgently must go an ocean conservation legislation that may enable the federal government to designate 30 p.c of the waters round Taiwan as a protected zone.

“Regulations governing the environmental impact assessment and the Coastal Zone Management Act (海岸管理法) should require developers in coastal areas to assess the impact their projects would have on the marine environment,” Chen Juei-pin stated.

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