Wed, May 11, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Group to check health of coral reefs

Staff Writer, with CNA

A civic group announced yesterday it would conduct a series of dives over a three-month period beginning at the end of this month to investigate the health of major coral reef habitats around Taiwan.

The Taiwan Environmental Information Association said its study will target seven areas: the northeast coast; two locations off the coast of Taitung County; Green Island (綠島); Orchid Island (蘭嶼); Dongyuping (東嶼坪) in Penghu County; and Siaoliouchiou (小琉球).

“The survey is aimed at continuing to monitor the health of Taiwan’s coral reefs,” said Association Secretary-General Chen Jui-pin (陳瑞賓), adding that this year will be the third year the survey is being done.

Chen described coral reefs as “tropical rainforests of the sea,” whose health and ecological balance have a major influence on the growth or decline in the populations of other forms of marine life.

Chen Chao-lun (陳昭倫), an associate researcher with the Biodiversity Research Center at Academia Sinica, said the situation in many parts of the world this year has not been good, with the abnormal global climate taking a massive toll on marine life.

The sea has also suffered from pressures of overfishing and human development, Chen said, and he urged the establishment of a marine life protection area to give it breathing space.

For this year’s survey, the association said it would invite local communities to join the cause to help create a groundswell of environmental conservation awareness.

The results of the investigation will be handed over to the California-based Reef Check Foundation for reference.

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