BUSUANGA, Palawan – C3 Philippines Programme Assistant Josefievienie Badang is one of the finalists for the Tubbataha Youth Ambassador program. Tubbataha Reefs National Park is a UNSECO World Heritage Site located in Cagayancillo, Palawan, Philippines. It is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) spanning 97,030-hectares at the heart of the Coral Triangle.
According to their website, scientists visiting these reefs have discovered that Tubbataha Reef is host to approximately:
- 600 species of fish
- 360 species of corals (about half of all coral species in the world)
- 11 species of sharks
- 13 species of dolphins & whales
- 100 species of birds
- And also nesting Hawksbill & Green sea turtles.
The Tubbataha Youth Ambassador program aims to encourage young people from Palawan to get more involved in marine conservation and replicate Marine Protected Areas in their own areas. The finalists in the program will be supported by the Tubbataha Marine Management Office in implementing marine conservation programs in the municipalities that they represent, in hopes developing future leaders for the environment.
This is becoming an increasingly important advocacy as the Philippines depends largely on marine resources for livelihood and food security. As a result, marine resources are largely exploited and many livelihoods depending on the ocean are often unsustainable and lack regulation. Having Marine Protected Areas have been proving to be a good tool to counter these realities in order to sustain the productivity of marine resources.