BECQ: No recovery for NMI corals

The summer of 2016 showed a die off in corals once again in the Saipan lagoon and there has been no recovery in combatting coral bleaching as of now, according to marine science technical advisor Lyza Johnston.

In 2013 and 2014 there was mass coral bleaching and a major die off in the corals due to thermal stress. The worst of the coral bleaching was found mostly in the Northern Islands and in the southern part of the Saipan lagoon, Johnston told Saipan Tribune. The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality observed this massive die off and have been trying to combat it since. For a while there was recovery and there was a growth in corals in those reefs.

Johnston said that a die off started again last summer 2016. Although the corals grew at a good pace since 2014, last summer they found that the coral bleaching has again started to take place in the western part of the Saipan lagoon.

When asked about the steps taken to reduce the die off in the corals in our lagoon, Johnston said, “It’s hard to deal with ocean warming on a local scale, but we are taking steps in keeping the reef as healthy as possible by reducing land based sources of pollution and unsustainable fishing”.

As of right now, the BECQ has not seen recovery for the coral bleaching that is once again taking place in the Saipan lagoon. BECQ will be monitoring the progress of the coral bleaching and said that they will hopefully have a full report by this year on June at the earliest.

Johnston said that so far the bleaching has only been occurring in the western side of Saipan lagoon. They have yet to venture to the Northern Islands to see if there is bleaching occurring there as well. This will all be included in the report that BECQ will be issuing sometime this year. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

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