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Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Philippines Tubbataha Reef April 2006 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Philippines Tubbataha Reef April 2006

Like a mirage rising out of the vast Sulu sea, the shallow reef flats of Tubbataha slowly emerge as a white line on the horizon. As the line draws nearer, emerald waters reveal a marine paradise where colourful fish and marine critters play among corals of various hues and shades. These underwater gardens are so full of life that they could be aptly called the marine version of tropical rainforests.

In addition to having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (see http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=653 and/or http://www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/tubbata.html), it is the largest coral reef atoll and the only national marine park in the Philippines.

The Tubbataha Reefs national park covers some 33,200 hectares and lies in the middle of the Sulu sea, about 150 kilometres southeast of (and 12 hours by boat from) Puerto Princesca, the capital city of Palawan island. The reefs harbour a diversity of marine life equal to or greater than any other such area in the world. In one survey, 46 coral genera and more than 300 coral species, and at least 40 families and 379 species of fish were recorded. Large marine life such as manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, tuna, dolphins and jackfish are a common sight in the reefs.

Monsoon winds inhibit diving on the reefs for nine months of the year. Before becoming a protected marine sanctuary, fisherman exploited the reef, often using destructive methods, including explosives.

The necessity of the long-term protection of such a valuable ecosystem is clear including through strict implementation of environmental protection, the maintenance of funding mechanisms and support to developing a strong, committed public constituency for Tubbataha reefs.
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3 spot angelfish.JPG
3 spot angelfish.JPG
boat2.jpg
boat2.jpg
sky11.jpg
sky11.jpg
jack school13.jpg
jack school13.jpg
sunset.jpg
sunset.jpg
Anemone shrimps.JPG
Anemone shrimps.JPG
chevron manta3.jpg
chevron manta3.jpg
sea.jpg
sea.jpg
anna's magnificent slug nudi.JPG
anna's magnificent slug nudi.JPG
jacuzzi.jpg
jacuzzi.jpg
sunset16.jpg
sunset16.jpg
another squirrelfish.jpg
another squirrelfish.jpg
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