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  • Writer's pictureBy Pacific Island Times News Staff

Palau's coral reef rehab begins with deployment of 240 corals to Ngerchong

Koror-- About 240 corals have been planted at Ngerchong Inside in Koror as part of Palau's coral rehabilitation program spearheaded by the Palau International Coral Reef Center.

PICRC) said it has teamed up with the Koror state government and Palau Visitors Authority on the project.

The corals were deployed June 15 and 16 by PICRC aquarists McGee Mereb and Eveline van der Steeg, along with the Koror state rangers. They outplanted 240 substrates with coral recruits, in hopes to increase coral cover at the site, PICRC said.

Ngerchong Inside was selected as the pilot site as the coral reef was severely damaged during super typhoon Bopha in 2012. A baseline survey conducted in December 2018, found a coral cover of 10 percent and 44 percent bare substrate.

PICRC said a high density of coral recruits indicated the reef had started to recover. However, this is a slow process and can take decades.

The coral reef has recovered drastically since the baseline survey in 2018 and the coral cover has increased visibly.

"We are very excited to observe this natural increase of coral cover at a typhoon damaged site. For the coral outplant, a shallow area with less coral cover was chosen," PICRC said.

As the coral rehabilitation project continues to develop and work to implement its proposed plan, PICRC said it will continue its planned activities with Koror state and PVA to promote community-based environmental awareness programs to educate both residents and visiting guests to Palau.

"While the work so far has focused on Koror waters, the process would be similar for other states interested in growing corals, and we hope to expand the project to other states in the near future," PICRC said.

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