CHINESE poachers are using the propellers of their boats to destroy coral reefs at the disputed islands Spratlys and Pag-asa, marine biologist John McManus said, but no comment has been made by the foreign affairs department.
McManus said satellite images prove that since last year, the Chinese poachers have been killing the corals in the part of the West Philippine Sea where the Chinese built artificial islands.
“Giant clam fishers used their boats to dig up the reef flat, killing all the corals in the islands,” McManus told GMA-7’s “News To Go.”
The biologist said coral bleaching and reef scarring was caused by systematic crushing through repeated scratching or scraping by Chinese poachers to harvest giant clams.
He also added, aside from discovering China’s poaching method, the data also showed that China’s construction of artificial islands also destroys the corals.
“They said their scientists went there. They looked around and they say ‘Oh, this is all dead coral.’ It was! It’s the truth—it had been killed by the Chinese fishers,” said McManus, a professor of marine biology and fisheries at the University of Miami and the director of the National Center for Coral Reef Research at the Rosenstiel School in the same university.
His research has been cited in the case filed by the Philippines against China’s excessive nine-dash line claim.
The case was filed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino III.
McManus is pushing for a large Spratly Island International Peace Park to be managed together by concerned countries.
“There has to be coordination of fisheries management and coral reef management across the whole South China Sea or it will collapse,” he said.
Duterte said on Thursday that China’s claim over the West Philippine Sea was made “in good faith,” despite the Arbitral Tribunal ruling that Beijing’s claim to the sea was illegal and excessive.