Turns out all that dredging that China is doing in Philippine waters is damaging to coral reef ecosystems. Not only is China crushing coral reefs and building fake islands, the country that is trying to rewrite territorial boundaries is also having adverse effects on the health of fish.
A new study released by James Cook University researchers found that when waters of reef ecosystems are muddied due to coastal agriculture and industry, and dredging like what China is doing on Philippine coral reefs, the disease rates in fish rises, as does damaged gills due to the pollution.
The researchers say that the effects from these actions are growing exponentially in coastal waters around the world and especially in places like the Great Barrier Reef, where the study took place. According to researcher Amelia Wenger, the study is a “part of a growing body of literature that is showing the strong effects of sediment on fish” but the first “physiological assessment of the gills and bacteria component.”
The researchers found that as juvenile clownfish settled on reefs that are awash in sediment, their gills essentially become clogged, inhibiting their capability to take in oxygen. The study also found that not only did the gills become damaged, but exposure to the sediment may cause the development of fish diseases.