Monday, January 29, 2007

Visayan Sea ecosystem on brink of "collapse" -- and what to do about it?

The Philippine STAR reports survey results indicating that the heart of the Visayan Marine Triangle -- a region fabled for its tremendous biodiversity -- "trembles on the brink of ecosystem collapse."

As a result of the study, says the STAR, the Law of Nature Foundation -- mother organization of the Visayan Sea Squadron which undertook the survey -- will conduct an environmental compliance audit in selected areas during the summer:
The project will assess the level of compliance by the local governments concerned with the provisions of the law, the Visayan Sea Squadron said.

"Particularly, they will assess the performance of the local government unit on marine resources protection and on the compliance with the solid waste management law"...

"It is time to use the power of the law to hold accountable the very people to whom we have given powerful positions and whose salaries we pay," said environmental lawyer Tony Oposa, [and expedition] team leader...

"If they have not performed up to their legal mandates, it is but right that their constituents and the people who elected them into their positions are properly informed, especially during election season," added Oposa.
I am going to the Philippines in a few days, and will be travelling to the Visayan region to learn more about the challenges and responses, including a remarkable project called the School of the Seas.

Historically, the Philippines had some of the world's most amazing coral reefs, and there is probably nowhere in the world with stronger human pressure on corals and associated marine resources. What should be the priorities now? Is it feasible to restore ecosystems in such circumstances? Anyone reading this who thinks they have a well informed view as to what most needs scrutiny please contact me as soon as possible as I have some flexibility in my travel schedule while in the Philippines (click on complete profile on right hand side of this page to find my e mail address).

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