South Sea Reef Rehab Project

Daplac Bay, Palawan, Philippines  (2011-ongoing)

The coral garden in Daplac Bay is a collaborative project initiated by a French-Filipino family living on Boayan Island and funded by Palawan Cove Development Corporation. In 2011, Ditchay Roxas and her husband Philippe Girardeau set up South Sea Reef Rehab, an NGO with the primary aim of reviving the reefs of Daplac Bay. They communicated with marine scientists around the world to learn about the most reliable techniques for reef rehabilitation and how to adapt these to local conditions using available materials. Their aim was that the project would run on a small budget and could be replicable in other parts of Palawan.

To combat the effects of soil erosion caused by upland slash and burn agriculture (kaingin) the project was designed “from ridge to reef” and they began by planting vetiver grass along the ridgeways and waterways to prevent soil running into the bay.

In 2011 they planted their first corals on steel structures and over the next few years experimented with a variety of techniques gradually honing their skills and adapting the structures to the weather and wave patterns. They hired a small team of local divers to help run the project – building new structures, monitoring coral growth as well as checking for disease and parasites. 

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