South China Sea Seagrass Publications

March 6th, 2008

The UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project has published a series of technical reports on seagrass in the South China Sea. The first reviews the progress and achievements of the seagrass habitat demonstration sites at Hepu in China; Kampot in Cambodia; Bolinao in the Philippines; and East Bintan in Indonesia. The publication is entitled Seagrass Demonstration Sites in the South China. This publication complements the Regional Review of Seagrass in the South China Sea produced by the UNEP/GEF Regional Working Group on Seagrass.

The South China Sea seagrass habitat demonstration sites can be viewed along with detailed supporting information on Google Earth. Please click here to load the South China Sea Project layer on Google Earth. Contact the Project Director, Dr. John C. Pernetta, for further information regarding the work of the South China Sea Project on seagrass in Southeast Asia.

South China Sea Coral Reefs Publications

March 4th, 2008

The UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project has published a series of technical reports on coral reefs in the South China Sea. The first reviews the progress and achievements of the coral reef habitat demonstration sites at Masinlic in the Philippines; Phu Quoc in Vietnam; Mu Koh Chang in Thailand; Belitung in Indonesia; and Ninh Hai in Vietnam. The publication is entitled Coral Reef Demonstration Sites in the South China. This publication complements the Regional Review of Coral Reefs in the South China Sea produced by the UNEP/GEF Regional Working Group on Coral Reefs.

Another substantive output of the coral reefs component of the UNEP/GEF South China Sea project are the National Reports on Coral Reefs of the South China Sea. The English language versions of these reports have been compiled and recently published as a single volume on coral reefs in the South China Sea. Please follow the link below to access this major output of the project:

National Reports on Coral Reefs in Coastal Waters of the South China Sea

The South China Sea coral reefs habitat demonstration sites can be viewed along with detailed supporting information on Google Earth. Please click here to load the South China Sea Project layer on Google Earth. Contact the Project Director, Dr. John C. Pernetta, for further information regarding the work of the South China Sea Project on coral reefs in Southeast Asia.

South China Sea Mangrove Publications

March 3rd, 2008

The UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project has published a series of technical reports on mangroves in the South China Sea. The first reviews the progress and achievements of the mangrove habitat demonstration sites at Fanchenggang in China; Batu Ampar in Indonesia; the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia; and Trat in Thailand. The publication is entitled Mangrove Demonstration Sites in the South China. This publication complements the Regional Review of Mangroves in the South China Sea produced by the UNEP/GEF Regional Working Group on Mangroves.

The South China Sea mangrove sites can be viewed along with detailed supporting information on Google Earth. Please click here to load the South China Sea Project layer on Google Earth. Contact the Project Director, Dr. John C. Pernetta, for further information regarding the work of the South China Sea Project on mangroves in Southeast Asia.

South China Sea on Google Earth

February 26th, 2008

A layer for the UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project has recently been added to Google Earth. This new feature of UNEPSCS.org can be accessed by visiting the Google Earth Outreach Showcase and was reviewed by Phil Verney of Google Earth’s Community Development Team on the Google Earth Latlong Blog. Click here to learn more about the Google Earth Outreach Programme.

King of Thailand Urges Response to Gulf of Thailand Erosion

January 16th, 2007

Thai mangrovesSeveral Thai provinces bordering the Gulf of Thailand were declared disaster zones last month after monsoon waves hit coastal areas. Waves were as high as 4 metres in some areas and caused substantial damage to the Gulf of Thailand coast, particularly in areas of Songkhla, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Many homes were damaged or lost to the sea, and sea transport between islands in the Gulf was severely disrupted.

In an effort to ensure best practice in the management of this problem in the long-term, His Majesty the King of Thailand has instructed related agencies to search for long-term solutions to erosion prevention. The Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) has responded through the provision of short-term aid to severely hit areas, and the formulation of a mid-term plan to solve problems in severely eroded areas by growing mangroves and coastal forests. DMCR also aims to develop a long-term strategic plan for coastal erosion management in the Gulf of Thailand.

Sources: The Nation and MCOT.ORG

On-Going Coastal Erosion Problems at Tanjung Piai, Malaysia

January 16th, 2007

Coastal erosion at Tanjung PiaiTanjung Piai in Johor Baru, the southernmost point of Peninsular Malaysia and mainland Asia, continues to be threatened from severe coastal erosion. The erosion is caused by the large waves created by an increasing number of vessels utilising the Straits of Malacca and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, and is most prevalent in areas of the Sungai Pulai estuary. These problems have caught the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has ordered the state government to seek new measures to manage the problem. Previous interventions involving the use of geo-tubes, mangrove replanting, and the construction of concrete walls have all been unsuccessful. Tanjung Piai was gazetted as a RAMSAR site in 1997 and we will ensure to post any future news on this issue.

Source: New Straits Times

Algal Bloom Threatens Sabah Aquaculture Ventures

January 15th, 2007

Cochlodinium polykrikoidesA large bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate, Cochlodinium polykrikoides, is currently threatening aquaculture ventures off the west coast of Sabah, Malaysia. One fish farm in the Gaya area has reported fish kills, and a recent analysis of water samples collected in the area show a concentration of 4,500 C. polykrikoides cells per litre of water. Malaysian aquaculture companies lost millions of dollars of high value farmed fish during a similar bloom in 2003, and are working closely with the Department of Fisheries, Sabah to mitigate the effects of the current bloom. The Department of Fisheries, Sabah has assured local communities in the area that C. polykrikoides does not produce the neural toxins that cause paralytic poisoning in humans. Blooms of C. polykrikoides are known to smother the gills of fish causing asphyxiation.

Source: Daily Express

Coastal Waters Assessment in China

January 15th, 2007

Seagrass in ChinaA recent assessment of China’s coast by the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) highlighted that fewer than half of China’s coastal water areas can be classified as being “clean”, and noted that this situation appears to be worsening. SOA reported further that the ecosystems in most bays, river mouths, and coastal wetlands were “unhealthy” due mainly to the fact that 81 percent of sewage effluent outfalls that drain into coastal waters carry pollution loads far in excess of national standards.

An increased prevalence of “salt tides”, or the influx of seawater into depleted groundwater reserves, is a disturbing trend in coastal areas bordering the South China Sea. According to the assessment, Guangdong Province experienced salt tides for seven months in 2004, severely impacting on local drinking water supplies. For more information regarding the work of the South China Sea Project in China, please visit:

Videos of project activities in China can be also be accessed by visiting the SCS Multi-Media Centre – please click here.

Source: State Oceanic Administration of China

Aquaculture and the Environment in Vietnam

December 19th, 2006

Shrimp-VietnamGuidelines for the environmental management of aquaculture investments in Vietnam have been recently made available by Vietnam’s Ministry of Fisheries and the World Bank. The guidelines provide an analysis of the impacts on the environment and risks associated with aquaculture development in Vietnam and guidance on better environmental management and monitoring for its future development – click here to access the guidelines.

In other recent aquaculture news, Vietnam’s National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (Nafiqaved) apologised to the Japanese Food and Drug Administration Bureau for the chloramphenicol found in Vietnamese shrimp recently shipped to Japan. Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic that is effective against a wide variety of microorganisms. It is a banned substance in most shrimp importing countries as it is believed that it can cause aplastic anemia in humans and other adverse side effects, but it is still used in some areas to treat disease in farmed shrimp because it is exceedingly cheap. In this connection Nafiqaved announced that they would start conducting antibiotic tests on all shrimp exports on 20th December this year.

Source: Thanhnien News

Artificial Coral Reefs for the Gulf of Thailand

December 9th, 2006

Coral reef fishAccording to the New Straits Times, RM10 million will be spent to establish artificial coral reefs off Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia during 2007. It is intended that these coral reefs will improve coastal fisheries for fishing communities already suffering the effects of over-fishing in the Gulf of Thailand. State Agriculture and Rural Development committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafee said the artificial reefs, most of which will be in cube shape, will be placed three to five nautical miles from shore. He noted that fishers would be able to fish on these reefs during the monsoon season and that the closeness of the reefs to the shore would result in fishers obtaining higher returns for their catches as their fuel costs would not be excessive. Since the 1980s, artificial reefs have been placed in 174 locations around Terengganu, Malaysia, a move that has seen improvement in the number of fish in these areas.

Source: New Straits Times