APO ISLAND: CREATING A MARINE PROTECTED AREA
In the unassuming province of Negros Oriental, a bustling community has come together to protect the ocean surrounding Apo Island
Consuming less plastic, supporting sustainable fishing, recycling, buying tuna from a dolphin safe fishery – we ocean lovers do what we can to protect the big blue. But when safeguarding something so vast, with so many variables, one’s efforts may feel like a drop in the ocean. Even so, small efforts can make a huge difference, and such is the story of Apo Island, one of the first marine protected areas in the Philippines.
The aquatic nation of the Philippines, a global hotspot for marine diversity, is situated in the northwestern corner of the Coral Triangle – the world’s most biodiverse marine area and home to 75 percent of the world’s coral species and 40 percent of the world’s fish species. Over 100 million people in the Philippines rely on the sea for their livelihood, particularly those in the small shoreline fishing communities.
Located off the coast of Negros Oriental,
Apo Island is the oldest continuous marine protected area in the Philippines and home to 650 documented species of fish and over 400 documented species of corals. It is here where science and the community have made a joint effort to find the delicate balance of protecting the reef fish while relying on them as a sustainable food source.
Apo Island is as beautiful topside as it is below the surface ABOVE