Marine scientists say Chinese island reclamation is destroying coral reefs in South China Sea


ELEANOR HALL: Scientists from the United States and the Philippines have accused the Chinese Government of destroying coral reefs and fishing grounds with its reclamation program in the South China Sea.

Beijing has intensified its dredging and construction on the disputed Spratly Islands in what many see as a challenge to US power in the Asia Pacific.

The islands are claimed by several nations including the Philippines and Vietnam.

China’s government rejects the allegations saying that it carries out scientific tests to ensure no environmental damage takes place.

Sue Lannin has been to China and the Philippines and filed this report.

(Sound of fishing boats)

SUE LANNIN: That’s the sound of Chinese fishing boats using their propellers to destroy coral reefs in the South China Sea according to a video made by the University of the Philippines.

Professor Edgardo Gomez is a marine biologist at the university’s Marine Science Institute.

EDGARDO GOMEZ: What is happening now is that seven reefs which are very productive marine ecosystems have been or are in the process of being totally obliterated.

It is known that among the world’s natural ecosystems coral reefs are the most productive and the most diverse and we are losing quite an area, quite a lot of these reefs in the South China Sea due to the Chinese reclamation


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