Singapore's First Marine Park to Protect Ecosystems

Singapore's first Marine Park was announced last week at the Festival of Biodiversity. The Sisters' Island Marine Park will span some 40 hectares around Sisters' Islands and along the western reefs of St John's Island and Pulau Tekukuor. 

Singapore, 22 July 2014. Sisters' Island Marine Park, that's what the marine park in southern Singapore will be called. The location of Singapore's first Marine Park was selected due to its variety of habitats such as coral reefs, sandy shores and seagrass areas. It will be a platform for outreach, educational, conservation and research activities related to Singapore's native marine biodiversity.

Sisters' Island to the south of mainland Singapore has been slated to become Singapore's first Marine Park. Photo from Straits Times.Singapore's marine biodiversity consists of more than 250 species of hard corals - this makes up 32% of hard coral species found worldwide, more than 100 species of reef fish, around 200 species of sponges and 12 seagrass species.

The Marine Park will protect Singapore's coral reefs that support an ecosystem containing rare and endangered species of seahorses, clams, sponges and other marine life. Enhancement activites will be carried out to improve existing marine habitats and enhance biodiversity.

Restoration activities including nurseries for iconic marine organisms are also part of the enhancement efforts to be carried out at the Marine Park. One of the species which will benefit is the Neptune’s Cup Sponge (Cliona patera), previously thought to be globally extinct for more than 100 years until it was rediscovered off Singapore’s coast in 2011. 

Research activities at the Marine Park will help to expand knowledge and understanding of Singapore’s existing marine habitats and biodiversity; in particular various aspects of marine biology, ecology and restoration.

As part of the Marine Park's outreach role, there will be citizen science programmes carried out as part of the Marine Park's activities. The public can sign up as volunteers to assist in such programmes together with the existing International Coastal Cleanup Singapore programme. Educational programmes such as workshops, talks and seminars will also be available for interested participants to learn about marine biodiversity. 

There will be introductory guided walks at the Sisters' Island Marine Park.

The guided walks in August have already been fully subscribed within the first three days of the registration opening. The public can sign up for future walks in September, November and December from August 1 at the NParks website. One of the highlights of the guided walks is an intertidal area with rich marine biodiversity such as sea stars and sea urchins. The walks will take a maximum of 45 participants a day, with three groups of 15, so as to prevent harm to marine life.

Find out more about Singapore's First Marine Park here.