Haribon attends the 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium
The Haribon delegation at the 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium.
By Erina Pauline Molina
Photos by Ditto dela Rosa Jr.
"Since the earth is made up of mostly water, perhaps we should be thinking about our ocean 3/4 of the time.”
This was a statement shared by one of the presenters during the symposium. Truly, majority of the earth is composed of water and thus, issues about our ocean should be tackled and be given importance.
Almost 400 participants from different countries and regions across Asia and the Pacific attended the 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium in Kenting, Taiwan with the theme, Challenges of Asia-Pacific Coral Reefs under the Changing Ocean.
The symposium served as a venue for scientists, managers, environmentalists and local stakeholders from key organizations to meet and share their expertise and lessons learned in the field of marine science. It was also a good opportunity to encourage collaboration between different institutions to work together toward the conservation of the marine ecosystem.
I, together with Dr. Margarita Lavides (Research Manager) and Mr. Gregorio dela Rosa Jr. (Research Specialist), represented Haribon Foundation. Different institutions from the Philippines were also present during the event such as the UP-Marine Science Institute, UP Visayas, UP Mindanao, Siliman University and De La Salle University. Part of the symposium was a tour at the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (NMMBA).
Haribon staff presented three papers, (1) Comparison of Fish Extirpations in Four Marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines (2) Are the baselines shifting at Lanuza Bay, Surigao del Sur? and (3) Highlighting the EDGE Flagship Species Conservation in Northeastern Philippines.
The writer presenting preliminary analysis of the data gathered for the Darwin Initiative Project Responding to Fish Extirpations in the Global Marine Epicenter.
The first two papers were results of the preliminary analysis of the data gathered for the Darwin Initiative Project, “Responding to Fish Extirpations in the Global Marine Epicenter” in collaboration with Newcastle University in the UK, while the third paper was from the EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) project of Haribon which determined the status of three EDGE Coral species.
The symposium was an eye-opener about the current situation of the marine environment in the Asia Pacific region. While a lot of presentations highlighted the coral reef diversity in this region, there were also studies that emphasized the need for the conservation of marine resources as a response to a changing climate. Overfishing, pollution and climate change are some of the problems that need to be addressed.
In my presentation, I discussed the reality that our marine resources were depleting faster than we thought; fish species may have gone extinct before us knowing that they exist. Our fishermen were not only catching less but are catching smaller individuals towards the present.
Ultimately, this symposium is a call for marine practitioners and different agencies to make a difference and catalyze change in their respective countries, and work together toward the sustainability of our marine resources.