Alarming coral bleaching in Marovo Lagoon: study

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Marovo lagoon. PHOTO: UN PHOTO
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BY BEN BILUA

GOVERNMENT’s institutions have demonstrated lack of capabilities in research and welfare of the country’s environment and are depending on International Non Government Organisations to provide necessary information.

This was demonstrated in the current coral bleaching event which is affecting coral reefs in Marovo Lagoon, New Georgia and Vungunu Island.

Earlier this year, World Conservation Society (WCS) with the help of local conservation group in Western Province found coral bleaching events raising alarm for proactive respond.

Three months since the event occurred, Ministry of Fisheries states have not received any formal report.

Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology states that they have received reports through WWC and Community Conservation Rangers but unable to do further intervene due to lack of capacity.

“This report was received by the Ministry and we have to depend on our Partners (WCS & WWF) on ground for verification. As well any Fisheries Officers in the Western Province,” Deputy Director Conservation, Josef Hurutarau said when contacted yesterday.

He said the coral bleaching event occurs due to increasing temperature and that it’s a natural cause which is quite difficult to address.

“I think this reporting is a natural cause of increasing temperature which might result in the coral bleaching.

“So I am coming from the angle of verification or reliability of such causes as reported. This is why we have to depend on Partners to provide such reports,” Hurutarau said.

He said addressing the issues is beyond the ministry’s capabilities and capacity as it is a natural cause.

“If it is caused by some anthropogenic activities (developments) then we can easily intervene/assist.

“In this case, I would say it will be very difficult to address the issue of rehabilitating coral etc,” Hurutarau said.

He said coral bleaching is a global issue and of equal concerns for Gov’t, NGOs, communities and he is hoping there are ways to compensate such natural damages.


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