coral destruction

huijung huijung at
Wed May 20 23:23:35 EDT 1998

Dear Dr. Cervino:

I am the scientist who is calling protection for Dongsha reef (The Pratas
island).  The followings are the background and what is actually happening:
Dongsha reef is the biggest atoll (>100 Km2) and has the richest reef lives
in the South China Sea.  More than 396 spp. of reef fishes, 137 spp. of
corals, 212 spp. of invertebrates and 114 spp. of marine plants were
recorded.  Those that have not been identified could double the present
numbers.  I organized three ecological expeditions (1990, 1994, 1998) to
this atoll.  The most terrible destruction happened during the past 3~4
years.  In this > 100 Km2 area, reef communities are completely dead by
repeatitive dosing with cyanide or blasting by dynamite in many studied
sites, where 100% coral coverage with very high marine life diversities
were used to be observed.  An overall estimation of 90% destruction on this
great atoll seems too conservative to me.  During the three days diving,
not a single lobster or a grouper or a shark or a Tridacna were seen by
divers.  Many of the dead corals were covered with algae.  We saw many
mainland China and Hong Kong fishing boats operating in the lagoon.  We
boarded two of them and checked the cyanide.  According to our monthly
record, in 1996, there were 589 mainland China boats, 413 Hong Kong boats
and 17 Taiwan boats fishing in this atoll.  It is estimated that at least
50.1 tons of cyanide (50 Kg per boat), 0.91 tons of dynamite (2 pond per
boat), and 9 tons of mercury batteries were put in the reef each year.
Dongsha atoll is the biggest killing field and will become the biggest
grave yard of corals in the world !  To save this nature wonder is an
inborn responsibility to all of us.  Please do whatever you can to help
from your position.  Personally, I will collaborate with my colleagues to
urge our government to take some immediate actions.

Lee-shing FANG
Preparatory office
National museum of marine biology & aquarium
Email: lsfang at

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