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Study visit to Australia sets the blueprint for improving reef restoration efforts in SEA

Study visit to Australia sets the blueprint for improving reef restoration efforts in SEA

Delegations from the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam with Australian scientists from CMSI-UNSW, UTS and JCU. (Image credit: MRRD, DOST PCAARRD, and ACIAR)

Dr. Mari-Ann M. Acedera and Ms. Preciosa C. Samonte of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), together with Dr. Maria Vanessa B. Rodriguez and Dr. Patrick C. Cabaitan of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) joined the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) study visit to Australia from February 24 to March 3, 2024

The visit aimed to provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange among researchers, scientists and government officials from Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam on marine ecosystems including coral reef restoration innovations. It also hopes to discuss the proposed Coral Reef Restoration Network in South East Asia (SEA).

The delegations from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam were warmly welcomed by the Center of Marine Science and Innovation-University of New South Wales (CMSI-UNSW); University of Technology Sydney (UTS); and James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville and Cairns Campuses. In these universities, the delegates and the host institutions shared their research activities, tools, technologies, and experiences on marine resources (e.g. corals, seaweeds, sea cucumbers, tuna), coral restoration, coastal ecosystems (corals, mangroves, seagrass), aquaculture, challenges brought by climate change, and adaptive mechanisms. The aquaculture facilities of JCU at Townsville and the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at Cairns were also visited.

ACIAR, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam participants. (Image credit: ACIAR)

During the study visit at the UNSW, Dr. Acedera presented the DOST-PCAARRD R&D Initiatives on Corals while Dr. Rodriguez presented UPMSI’s project, Regional Coral Restoration Networks and Appropriate Technologies for Larger-Scale Coral and Fish Habitat Restoration in the Philippines and Australia.

ACIAR has collaborated with some SEA countries for more than four decades now to manage and safeguard marine ecosystems and protect communities dependent on marine resources. 

In the Philippines, ACIAR complemented Philippine initiatives on corals and supported research to establish active reef restoration networks among research partners and stakeholders in selected sites in the country. These initiatives successfully promoted improved restoration techniques and sustainable management of restored reef areas. 

Dr. Mari-Ann M. Acedera of DOST-PCAARRD and Dr. Ma. Vanessa B. Rodriguez of the UPD Marine Science Institute presenting Philippine research initiatives during the visit at UNSW. (Image credit: MRRD, DOST-PCAARRD)

Lessons learned in the said efforts provided an opportunity to develop a community of practice on coral reef restoration where sharing of good practices and developing technical restoration capabilities founded on research may initiate key strategies (e.g. sustainable financing, network, and communication) to improve coral reef restoration efforts in Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and eventually in SEA.