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Kerama coral seen getting healthier

Date Posted: 2008-01-04

Environmentalists in Zamami Village are smiling a bit, pleased to discover coral in the Kerama Islands appears to be making a comeback after severe damages were discovered.

Tetsuya Miyahira of the Kerama Natural Environment Preservation Committee says coral is being observed having more healthy numbers after an intensive campaign to exterminate poisonous starfish, which endanger coral. He says healthy coral is 10 points up on the environmental scale after checks of Akajima Nishihama and Kahijima corals.

Inspections at Akajima Nishihama were made at two meter depths, while Kahijima checks were made 5~10 meters deep. Akajima Nishihama coral improved 17.5 points, up from 21.3%, while Kahijima area coral improved five points to 23.1%. In simple terms, the coral is in better condition.

“It’s because we exterminated poisonous starfish, also known as Crown of Thorns, using dive teams. The project has been under way for nearly three years, with Okinawa Prefecture aiding with the budget and technical assistance. Still, the coral’s not out of the woods and safe.

“The coral is still white and sick. It’s a very serious problem,” says Hiroki Taniguchi, a member of the preservation committee. “We won’t know until next year’s research results how much success we’re having, but we’re hoping it goes well.”

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