Google map of Camiguin Island province.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY--Environmental group Sangkalikasan Producers Cooperative (SPC) said Friday that it managed to restore a portion of coral reefs within the bay area of Camiguin province.

Alexandra Hill, a British marine biologist for SPC who managed the project, said the privately-funded initiative started in October last year.

The group said it employed a new technology to accelerate coral restoration in the area, producing results within months instead of the normal process that could take years.

"It involves the process of micro-fragmentation and colony fusion of coral fragments. It was pioneered by Dr. Vaughn of Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida (USA),” Hill said.

The experiment took place in Cabuan Marine Protected Area in Camiguin Province with the help of volunteers from Camiguin Polytechnic State College.

“Micro-fragmentation and colony fusion differs from more common coral restoration methods, which largely focus on branching species. Micro-fragmentation is used on slower-growing massive coral species. Colony fusion occurs when growing fragments from the same donor colony touch and fuse together to become one, increasing their overall surface area and consequently increasing their chances of survival," Hill explained.

He said the initiative "has the power to vastly improve coral restoration efforts in the Philippines," and in maintaining coral biodiversity that would result in "reef resilience."

The group said that climate change remains "the most imminent threat" to coral reefs, along with man-made actions such as dynamite fishing, oxybenzone sunscreens, nutrient runoff, and damage from natural calamities, such as typhoons.

“SPC is hoping that our work in coral restoration can mitigate not only the damage from some of these threats but also raise awareness surrounding the importance of our coral reefs,” Hill said.

Fannie Guanzon, SPC chair, said the project's success inspired them to propagate another one million corals next year.

The SPC reports it has already propagated its first million corals in the countryside in previous years.

“We are all excited about this. This is what I’ve been waiting for to develop something new that has an impact,” Guanzon said.

Prior to the SPC's initiative in Camiguin, the group has also conducted other coral restoration projects in Boracay Island in Aklan, Antique, and Zamboanga, and in other parts of the country. (PNA)