The Philippines is a special place. Located at the center of the Coral Triangle, the Philippines has among the highest concentration of marine species biodiversity in Southeast Asia, and is home to one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. These waters are home to a diverse population of marine animals, including 26 species of cetaceans, 6 species of turtles, whale sharks, mantas, and dugongs.
The islands of the Philippines are surrounded by deep oceanic waters less than 5 miles offshore, making marine animals more susceptible to human impacts. The Bohol Sea connects the Pacific Ocean and the Sulu Sea and is one of the most important migration corridors in Asia. Because the local Filipino population is highly dependent on coastal resources, conservation in this region often proves to be challenging. In addition, growing pressure due to unregulated tourism, development, and fishing, combined with the limited availability of data, make science based conservation particularly important.
Philippines Fast Facts
The Philippines is the second largest archipelago in the world.
Five of the seven sea turtles known to exist in the world today occur in Philippine waters.
Almost 3,000 species of fish have been recorded in the Philippines, including 33 endemic, 169 pelagic, and 336 deep-water species.
Despite a decade long nationwide ban on fishing manta rays, whale sharks, and cetaceans, illegal fishing activities and by-catch are still prevalent, resulting in a devastating impact to these animals. As a major migratory channel, the Bohol Sea is critical for the conservation of whale sharks and cetaceans in Southeast Asia. A scientific assessment of the abundance, distribution, and habitat of these animals is essential for conservation efforts in this region.
LAMAVE is working to increase the scientific knowledge and education about whale sharks and marine vertebrates in the Philippines. Investigations into the status of these species, the extent of illegal fishing, and the introduction of educational programs to promote sustainable environment use are fundamental to the conservation of these migratory animals.