Nestled at the heart of the Central Sulu Sea are the Tubbataha Reefs, which host the country's most biologically-diverse and productive reef complexes. Because of its globally-significant biodiversity, Tubbataha was declared by the UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site in 1993. Tubbataha has often been dubbed as the Mecca of Philippine diving, but it goes beyond being a spectacular underwater destination. It is a marine and economic powerhouse whose protection has never been more critical as it is today.
The Tubbataha Reefs' twin atolls produce at least 200 metric tons of seafood per square kilometre. This is five times greater than the productivity of a healthy reef. The reefs' rich marine biodiversity also ensures an ample food supply for over 20 million Filipinos, who depend on seafood as a major source of protein.
But a burgeoning Philippine population, unmonitored and unsustainable fishing practices, local and foreign ship grounding incidents, plus mounting climate change effects are putting tremendous pressure on the Tubbataha Reefs. It is imperative that we protect this cradle of marine life today.
2013 marks the 25th year since the Philippine government declared Tubbataha as a Marine Protected Area. WWF-Philippines and its allies stand poised to protect the gem of Philippines seas for succeeding generations. A brand-new Tubbataha Ranger Station will be constructed with funding from private and governmental institutions through a massive fundraising and media campaign spearheaded by WWF.