‘Absolute Nightmare’ As Chinese Destroy South China Reefs; Fish Stocks At Risk

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WASHINGTON:  China is destroying swaths of coral reefs in one of the most important fisheries in Asia and causing enormous environmental damage as it builds the fake islands it is putting up in the South China Sea,

To get some idea as to just how extensive China’s ruination of the reefs is, I went through some of the statistics gathered by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. Fiery Cross Reef has had 2.74 million square meters built up with sand and cement. The before and after shots are shown here. The photo below shows the reef before the Chinese had made much progress building on it. The photo above shows the latest satellite photo of the reef. You can see how completely the reef has been smothered in sand and concrete. Little of the original living reef can still be seen.

Fiery Cross on Jan. 22 2006

Fiery Cross Reef on Jan. 22, 2006

“There are global security concerns associated with the damage. It is likely broad enough to reduce fish stocks in the world’s most fish-dependent region,” John McManus, a professor of marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, says in an email. “Reduced fisheries will increase regional tensions.”

John McManus University of Miami

John McManus

McManus, who has dived on the reefs the Chinese are destroying in the Spratlys, said the Chinese dredging and sand vacuuming on the reefs is devastating.

“The worst thing anyone can do to a coral reef is to bury it under tons of sand and gravel. There is actually a lot more area of less-permanent damage, but I am unable to release the figures until a submitted journal paper gets accepted,” he says.

Read more: http://breakingdefense.com/2015/11/absolute-nightmare-as-chinese-destroy-south-china-reefs-asian-fish-stocks-at-risk/

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