Boracay Island in the Philippines, 20 years ago one of the most pristine islands in the Philippine archipelago, has seen a massive decline in its coral reef system due in part to unregulated fishing, tourism, and boating activities in this country’s popular tourist destination spot.
To help to restore the island’s coral reefs, Code Blue Boracay, a consortium of environmental and business groups, have launched the Code Blue project that will provide 5,000 “reefbuds” along a two kilometer stretch of water parallel to Boracay’s shoreline to essentially jumpstart the growth of the reef. The reefbuds, a 1.2 meter by 1.2 meter mixture of organic and inorganic materials weigh 450- to 600 kilograms, are said to enhance the production of algae, and its hollow shape serves as a spawning bed for reef fishes. “We hope to recover from 20 to 30 percent of the coral reefs here in 10 years,” Boracay local Benjie Tayag said in a press conference announcing the launch. According to a report on the Inquirer.net website, Tayag helped to build the reefbuds from a design by Austrian geoscientist Harald Kremnitz. Tayag is hoping that reefbuds will help the reefs to recover 20 to 30 percent in 10 years. The placement of the reefbuds began in January 2012 with an expected placement of all 5000 reefbuds to conclude in May. After that, monitoring will be necessary to ensure that illegal fishing and boat activities don’t continue in the area the reefbuds are placed.
The Philippines is home to 7,107 islands, and has one of the largest and most diverse populations of marine fish and corals. Boracay Island is one of the most popular beach destinations in the Philippines due in part to its fine white sand beach. More than 908,000 tourists visited the island last year and 1 million are expected to visit in 2012, according to the Inquirer report.