Survey shows coral in Oura is “healthy” with some bleaching

Survey shows coral in Oura is “healthy” with some bleaching

Reef check to monitor the level of coral bleaching. Chibichiriishi of Oura Bay in Nago (Photograph provided by the Nature Conservation Society of Japan).

November 17, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

A group named “The Association for Fishers who Protect and Harness Beautiful Sea” conducted a survey on the coral reef in Oura Bay, Nago City, on November 16. The group consists of those who are involved in fishery and are against the construction of the Henoko base. Together with the director of the National Conservation Society of Japan, Mariko Abe, the group conducted a reef check to monitor the condition of the coral in Oura Bay. Although coral bleaching was observed all over the area, the coral was deemed to be in “healthy” condition.

At one of the survey points called “chiribishi”, staghorn coral was almost completely damaged due to El Nino in 1998. It was observed as recovering in January this year. Five percent of the coral were observed as dead due to high water temperatures during the summer. The first part of cover degree in the survey was down by 6.2 points from the previous survey to 41.3 percent with the latter part up by 1.2 points to 10 percent.

At the other three survey points, there were approximately three to seven points of increase/decrease, yet no severe damage was found. “There are cases around the world where severe coral bleaching happens for three consecutive years during summer. There is also the potential for Okinawa to have such damage due to the bleaching after next year,” Director Abe comments.

The association will conduct reef checks around the prefecture until November 23.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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