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Escoda Shoal corals may be dead – expert

By: John Eric Mendoza - Inquirer.net | June 08,2024 - 10:18 AM

Escoda Shoal corals

MARINE DESTRUCTION The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) says the coral rubble found near Escoda (Sabina) Shoal pointed to reclamation or island-building attempts within the Philippine exclusive economic zone. Photo from PCG

MANILA, Philippines — Almost all corals in the shallow waters of Escoda (Sabina) Shoal may be dead, a University of the Philippines (UP) marine scientist said Friday.

Dr. Jonathan Anticamara, of the University of the Philippines Institute of Biology, said thi

“I predict almost all of the [corals] in shallow waters of Escoda Shoal are now dead,” he said in a press conference.

“That is an ecological disaster,” he added.

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Anticamara likewise said the expedition noted “extensive bleaching” of Sabina Shoal corals.

Last month, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that crushed corals were dumped in Sabina Shoal in a development that could be a prelude to the emergence of an artificial island there.

According to Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, this possible dumping of crushed corals was learned during the deployment of BRP Teresa Magbanua in the area.

Tarriela said the ship’s deployment was done after Anticamara found coral rubble or dead coral fragments “piled on Pag-asa Cays 1, 2, and 3 that are now exposed during high tide.”

In a presentation on May 4, Anticamara said developments in Pagasa Cays “are possibly products of island-building activities.”

READ: Sue China over suspected reclamation in Escoda Shoal, says Carpio

“After more than 3 weeks of monitoring [by BRP Teresa Magbanua], the PCG has discovered that the physical characteristics of the LTE (low tide elevation) surrounding Escoda/Sabina Shoal are similar to those of the sandy cays [of Pagasa Island],” Tarriela wrote on X (formerly Twitter) in May..

“It has been observed that crushed corals were dumped and it is highly likely that the maritime features were altered,” he added.

Escoda or Sabina Shoal is located 75 nautical miles from the coast of mainland Palawan  and well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

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TAGS: environment, Rscoda Shoal, WPS

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