2016 Saving Philippine Reefs Expedition – Sangat Island
This year the Unico Conservation Foundation and their supporters participated in the annual Saving Philippine Reefs Expedition at Sangat Island, Philippines. Several board members joined the expedition including first timer Roland Thomas. Sangat Island is a reserve off the coast of Busuanga Island close to Barangay Bintuan, Coron. The large island is uninhabited except for the resort facility and supports native vegetation and wildlife including cheeky monkeys.
Lead by the CCEF and along with other dive volunteers from around the world we surveyed reefs in northern part of the Calamian islands in Palawan Province, which is in the western most islands of the Philippines. It was an opportunity to dive a range of different marine protected areas. Unfortunately many of the reefs were in poor health and showed little diversity. Enforcement of MPA’s is vital to their success and health, however due to the remoteness and lack of resourcing this is extremely difficult. The data that we collected on our daily dive and snorkel surveys will be collected and analysed to determine the effectiveness of marine protected areas. Stay tuned for the results and for a sneak peak into the trip check out our video:
Great Barrier Reef Experience
The Unico Foundation is excited to be helping to support the The Great Barrier Reef Experience (GBRE) a scalable international touring exhibition that brings together world leading scientists, research institutions, conservation organisations, tourism, creative geniuses and award-winning cinematographers.By combining cutting edge 4K projection, 3D mapping and interactive technologies, the GBRE will immerse visitors from around the world, taking them on an emotional journey of discovery and experiencing reef like never before.
Visitors will be encourage to look beneath the science to confront the astounding hidden truths of the Great Barrier Reef and the keys it holds to our future. Each experience reveals valuable lessons about life and love, family and community and the power of tiny interactions to create mighty changes. An important feature of the exhibition is underlying the social engagement program which will enable people from all around the world to help shape the future of the reef.
Urgent need to implement Tanon Strait Management Plan
Following the identification of an oil spill in Pescador Island in Moalboal, Cebu there is a strong urge by international ocean conservation groups to implement a management plan to protect this area from ongoing damage. It’s a tourist hot spot characterised by coral reefs and vulnerable marine species including Green Sea Turtles. The management plan, supported by vice president of Oceana Philippines Gloria Estenzo Ramos, is urging the application of no go zones and clear routes for vessels. This strategy will reduce pollution and the discharge of hazardous materials into precious marine environments.
Expedition records diverse marine life from Benham Rise, Philippines
In May 2016, marine scientists from a collection of organisations returned from a successful expedition to Benham Rise with promising results on the health of the area. This included documentation of a diverse range of coral species and 100% coral cover in numerous sites. The team undertook several dives and analysing hours of video footage, which has helped to build their understanding of the area and demonstrate how it has developed since the last 2014. A deep coral reef found at 150meters is a positive find for species usually found in shallow reefs. This demonstrates the capacity of these species to adapt or recolonise deeper areas as impacts of climate change take hold.