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Dying coral highlighted at environmental symposium

Date Posted: 2008-05-30

Coral and coral eggs in southern Okinawa are dying, a trio of university professors told the 45th Okinawa Living Thing Congress, and put the blame on poisonous starfish.

The symposium, “Okinawan Living Things bring Influence by Changing the Environment”, heard keynote speaker Professor Kazuhiko Sakai and two other Ryukyu University professors describe how the coral supply in the Kerama Islands and southern Okinawa near Naha City is being devoured by the poisonous starfish. They noted the coral levels are declining, and said a lot of coral eggs have been seen drifting on the beach side of Tarama Village’s Minna Island area.

The 11th Coast Guard’s Ishigaki Air Base helicopter crew confirms finding pink color coral eggs, a good sign. The eggs were drifting in the crystal waters. Helicopter pilot Takao Suzuki, who only recently transferred to Okinawa from mainland Japan, said “I saw the pink color coral eggs for the first time in my life. I was so excited about finding the eggs, and at first didn’t know what they were.” Suzuki said he wondered ‘why the ocean water is so pink’ before discovering the three-kilometer-long sashes of eggs, 20-50 abreast, were turning the water pink.

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