MAASIN CITY- More than 3,000 crown-of-thorns (COTs), specie of starfish, were seen in the waters of Malitbog town alone, according to Aileen Estrera, member of the province’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan, citing a recent survey conducted by the Southern Leyte State University (SLSU).
During the 3rd Quarterly Meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) held in this city on September 9, Estrera has urged the PDRRM officer to recommend to the Sanggunian a COT outbreak in the province once all the municipalities with COT presence will be able to submit their list of barangays affected, after the said municipalities’ COT outbreak declaration.
“The normal COT in every hectare of corals is only one, but after the survey, it was found out that there are 25-30 COTs per hectare of corals,” Estrera, who is the committee chair on Environment Protection, disclosed.
As of this writing, the barangays of Kuwangon has 76 COTs; Iba – 40; Timba – 195; Abgao – 130 and the rest were seen in other areas, all in the municipality of Malitbog.
Other municipalities with crown-of-thorns based on the survey include Limasawa, Liloan, Padre Burgos and Libagon, Estrera said.
“In every single COT, it produces 60 million eggs, though only 1 percent will survive but 1 percent of 60 million is already 600,000,” Estrera said.
Once a crown-of-thorn prey on corals, the affected corals will die, she said, adding that this should be addressed immediately.
Southern Leyte is considered as one with the best dive sites in the country where coral reefs and best marine sites are promoted. (LDL/RGC/PIA-8, Southern Leyte)