Lapu-Lapu Cenro rehabilitates corals damaged by ‘Odette’

A group of ocean advocates in Cebu spearheaded by Marine Scientist Dexter dela Cruz conducted coral reef rehabilitation in Cordova and Lapu-Lapu City. Cebu, which was once meant to serve as a source of coral larvae, became a restoration site after being damaged by Typhoon Odette.
A group of ocean advocates in Cebu spearheaded by Marine Scientist Dexter dela Cruz conducted coral reef rehabilitation in Cordova and Lapu-Lapu City. Cebu, which was once meant to serve as a source of coral larvae, became a restoration site after being damaged by Typhoon Odette.Contributed File photo / Ikuo Jane Atuel

TO REHABILITATE damaged corals in the 11 marine protected sanctuaries in Lapu-Lapu City, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) uses two methods—one through coral sexual reproduction and the other through transplantation.

Cenro environmental specialist Jocelyn Abayan, in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, said the corals were damaged during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai), which struck Cebu on Dec. 16, 2021.

Abayan said the 11 sanctuaries will be fully rehabilitated within three years.

These are in the waters of Barangays Talima, Baring, San Vicente, Caohagan, Dakit-Dakit, Minantaw, and Olango, and four private resorts.

Abayan said coral sexual reproduction involves new growth of corals and the eggs will be distributed to a sanctuary, while coral transplantation refers to a technique that collects fragments of corals in the marine protected sanctuaries and replanted within the sanctuaries.

In a separate interview, City Councilor Celestino Aying, chairman of the committee on environment, natural resources and climate change adaptation, said the processes of rehabilitating the corals are ongoing and are being monitored.

“We are partnering now with two universities and other private sectors wherein one resort serves as the pilot area. Now, these corals need to be placed in sanctuaries for them to grow and reproduce and not be eaten by big fishes,” said Aying in Cebuano.

He added that with the collaboration between the private sector, universities, and the City Government, they targeted a reproduction of millions of colonies.

The official said corals are important as they support diverse marine life, provide food through fisheries, and protect coastlines.

Assessment

At present, Cenro is thoroughly assessing the damaged corals in the marine sanctuaries.

Abayan added that in terms of budget, they will need funds for the manpower and equipment that will be used during the operations, as their partners provide their personnel and budget.

“For the budget, we will use this for manpower and equipment. When it comes to corals, we won’t need money because we can get them from the fragments. What we want, to fully rehabilitate the corals, is to propose a budget from the environmental fee,” said Abayan in Cebuano.

She said that they will prioritize the most vulnerable marine sanctuaries, such as those in Talima and San Vicente.

Abayan said some corals were destroyed by Typhoon Odette, and most of them are found in the waters of private resorts in Lapu-Lapu City.

Last May 1, Lapu-Lapu City started collecting a P100 environmental fee from all local and international tourists engaging in different water sports and recreational activities.

The City Treasurer’s Office had collected P2,088,290 and P2,146,635 for May and June, respectively.

According to Abayan, diving and snorkeling activities in the city will not be restricted; however, there are some limitations.

Among the limitations is avoiding standing on and touching the coral reef while rehabilitation is ongoing. Activities within marine sanctuaries are also being regulated.

Abayan noted that corals can heal on their own if not disturbed and highlighted that some corals have slowly regained growth. / DPC

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