Industry Strategic Science and Technology Plans (ISPs) Platform

Coral Industry Profile

The Philippines’ coral reef area of 26,000​​ square kilometers (km2) is the 2nd largest in Southeast Asia. There are approximately 500 species of scleractinian or “hard” corals and 12 of these species are considered endemic or native to the region. Hard corals contain calcium carbonate, a hard substance that turns into rock over time. Some examples of hard corals are Acropora granulosa, Montipora digitata, and Pocillopora damicornis. On the other hand, octocorals or “soft” corals do not form stony skeletons as they remain bendable. At least 10 families of soft corals can be found in the Philippines. 

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), there are around 1,800 established marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Philippines. This includes Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) and Tañon Strait Protected Seascape. There are also 6 marine biogeographic regions, namely: Celebes Sea, Northern Philippine Sea, West Philippine Sea, Southern Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, and Visayan Sea. The Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion and the West Philippine Sea are considered priority seascapes.

Problems in the Industry

The challenges faced by coral industry include limited research and studies on the Philippine coral reefs and its status, gaps in current understanding of the impacts of the climate change related stressors, limited knowledge on coral reef management, overexploitation as coral reefs are often subjected to destructive fishing techniques and excessive harvesting, and limited policies to stop overexploitation and destructive fishing techniques.

ISP for Coral

A number of coral reef areas are still considered to be Category D, with 0-22% hard coral cover (HCC). There is a need to refine and validate coral reef restoration technologies, as well as develop standardized assessment tools and/or decision support systems. Currently, there are also limited studies on the assessment, mapping, and monitoring of fully formed reefs in shallow and mesophotic zones and limited knowledge on coral reef resilience to environmental stressors. The ISP for corals aims to improve coral reef management for sustainable economic, social and ecosystem services such as fisheries, tourism, and coastal protection through the enhancement of culture production, restoration technologies, methods and protocols, and increase understanding of coral responses to threats. The program also targets to capacitate scientists on the use of standardized methods, tools and technologies for reef assessment, as well as to improve the country’s reef management to keep an updated status of the Philippine coral reefs.

Strategic R&D

Strategic R&D is DOST-PCAARRD’s banner program comprising all R&D activities that are intended to
generate outputs geared towards maximum economic and social benefits


Products, equipment, and protocols or process innovations developed to improve productivity, efficiency,
quality, and profitability in the agriculture and aquatic industries, and to achieve sustainable
utilization and management of natural resources

Protocol on Reef Assessments

The protocol is a guide on how to conduct coral assessment from site selection to photo transect method to data processing.  This is necessary to have a standardized method so...

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Capacity Building

Capacity building efforts of DOST-PCAARRD seek to develop and enhance the R&D capabilities of researchers
and academic or research institutions through graduate assistantships & non-degree trainings
and development and/or upgrading of research facilities

Infrastructure Development

The marine laboratory in Bolinao was upgraded to improve the aeration and cooling systems, filtration facility, temperature controlled room and mass flow controller.

Manpower Development

Conducted 8 trainings on Coral Reef Assessment and Coral Taxonomy and trained 52 participants from 37 institutions including 27 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 10 National Government Agencies (NGA), Local Government Unit (LGU), or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 14 Regions (I, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and National Capital Region). The Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and DENR have started to train their staff with their own funds while the SUCs and NGAs/LGUs/NGOs have started to adopt the assessment protocol and new scales in their assessment activities and in developing their research proposal. The training aims to disseminate the know-how and technology on reef assessment and train participants in the identification of corals to (at least) genus level.

(CBRACT project, Dr. Wilfredo Y. Licuanan/DLSU)

Conducted 3 trainings on Coast Erosion Management and trained 60 participants from 34 SUCs in 13 Regions (I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, and ARMM) to increase the awareness of tertiary education teachers/instructors/professors on coastal erosion in particular, and coastal hazards in general and to demonstrate actual beach erosion assessment and monitoring (BEAM) techniques.

(CEPA Project, Dr. Fernando P. Siringan/UPD MSI)

Conducted training on Benthos and Fish Assessments, and Remote Sensing and trained 25 participants from the Apo Reef Natural Park Protected Area Management Office (ARNP-PAMO) personnel and the Sablayan Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) staff to enhance their management capacity.

(SMART Coral, Dr. Victor S. Ticzon/UPLB)

Policy Research & Advocacy

Analysis of policy concerns and advocacy of science-informed policies ensures that the AANR policy environment is conducive for S&T development
and investments

DOST-PCAARRD supported the nationwide coral reef assessment which assessed a total of 206 stations using HCC and allowed the development of national and regional benchmarks, assessment scales and baselines for management-oriented surveys in the future and standardized protocol for reef assessment. These protocols were adopted by the DENR through the three (3) Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Technical Bulletins (Nos. 2019-03 on General Considerations for Coral Reef Ecosystems Restoration/Rehabilitation, 2017-05 on Guidelines on the Assessment of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and 2019-04 Technical Guide on Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring System for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems). 

DA-BFAR has started to adopt the use of the protocol for reef assessment in all their regional offices through capacity building, wherein a total of 52 participants from 34 institutions in 12 Regions have been trained. Recognizing the need to conduct regular coral reef monitoring, DA also issued Memorandum dated 3 Oct 2019 on Visayas wide AFC Resolution No. 5, Series of 2019 “A Resolution Recommending the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to create an Assessment and Monitoring Team to Conduct Periodic Monitoring of Coral Reefs”. The Red List of Philippines on corals was also updated as required by Republic Act 10654.

Further, based on the results of the program, the PCAF Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the National Fisheries and Aquatic National Resources Management Council (NFARMC) recommended to the Office of the President the amendment of Proclamation No. 2146 (Proclaiming Certain Areas and Types of Projects as Environmentally Critical and Within the Scope of the Environmental Impact Statement System Established under Presidential Decree No. 1586) to expand the scope of Environmental Impact Statement System and prioritize the maintenance and development of corals reefs in the country.


NACRE Program and CBRACT Project, Dr. Wilfredo Roehl Y. Licuanan/DLSU