China causes extensive damage to coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea, destroying 21,000 acres.

The country is facing a decline in fisheries production due to reports of China destroying at least 21,000 acres of coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), warned an expert from the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) yesterday.

UP-MSI assistant professor Mike Atrigeneo stated in a radio interview that the destruction of coral reefs and habitats of fish is leading to a decrease in fish production. He raised concerns about the possibility of certain fish species dependent on coral reefs facing extinction.

This warning comes in response to studies showing that China’s activities have caused significant damage to the marine environment in the WPS. Activities such as dredging, landfills to build artificial islands, and clam harvesting have been linked to the destruction of coral reefs.

Meanwhile, a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) ship will continue to stay in the Panatag Shoal area despite China’s claims of intrusion. The vessel, BRP Datu Sanday, aims to protect Filipino fishermen and provide fuel subsidies to support their fishing activities.

Furthermore, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plans to increase joint maritime patrols with the United States military in the WPS. AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. announced that more joint patrols will be conducted in partnership with the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in the coming months.

These developments indicate ongoing efforts to address environmental and security concerns in the West Philippine Sea, as various stakeholders work to protect marine resources and interests in the region.

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