Climate and Environment

Apo Reef Natural Park wins marine biodiversity award

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Apo Reef Natural Park wins marine biodiversity award
Photo from Apo Reef Natural Park shows the marine protected area.
Apo Reef Natural Park

MANILA, Philippines — The Apo Reef Natural Park in Occidental Mindoro won the prestigious Blue Park Awards for exceptional marine wildlife conservation at the United Nations Ocean Conference.

The Apo Reef Natural Park is the second platinum-level—or the highest possible recognition—Blue Park Award recipient in the Philippines after Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, which was recognized in 2017.

It joined a growing network of 24 awarded Blue Parks around the globe that have met the highest science-based standards for conservation effectiveness.

Spreading over an area of 34 square kilometers, Apo Reef is the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world and the largest one in the Philippines. It has diverse corals and has an island covered with terrestrial vegetation.

Apo Reef is one of the best known diving spots in the world.

The award is a “testament to the more than two decades of hard work of different sectors for the conservation and protection” of Apo Reef Natural Park, said ARNP Protected Area Superintendent Krystal Villanda when she received the award last week in Lisbon, Portugal.

Apo Reef was proclaimed as protected area under the category of natural park and its surrounding waters as buffer zone. The Apo Reef Natural Park and its peripheral buffer zone covers an area of 27,469 hectares.

Ernesto Adobo, officer-in-charge of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the award will serve as an inspiration for the national government to strengthen its initiatives to conserve and protect marine protected areas in the country.

“This award is an impetus not only for our hardworking men and women in the field but also to the national government to boost the conservation efforts in our marine protected areas through our policies, programs, and collaboration with various stakeholders,” Adobo said.

The Blue Park Award recognizes outstanding efforts by governments, non-profit organizations, MPA managers, and local communities in the effective protection of marine ecosystems.


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