04 October 2008

Singapore's marine protected areas: where?

Does Singapore have these? Where are they?

WWF recently stated that Nations protect land better than seas, reminding that in 2004, the 191 governments that are parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity committed to ensuring that a least 10% of each of the world’s ecological regions are effectively conserved by 2010.

WWF noted that "While progress towards achieving the 10% protected area target has been better on land, marine areas remain especially poorly protected".

Singapore is a signatory to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Do we have marine protected areas?

A quick check on the World Database on Protected Areas, selecting Singapore, we get this listing:
Wow! We have one Marine Nature Area, two National Parks (these turn out to be Fort Canning Park and the Singapore Botanic Gardens...hmmm), and four Nature Reserves (Bukit Timah, Central Catchment, Labrador and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve). The ASEAN Heritage site is Sungei Buloh.

So where and what is our Marine Nature Area?More data on the area is vague.The designated Area doesn't show up on the map (which doesn't enlarge).

This site made extensive reference to MPA Global: a database on the world's marine protected areas. A quick check there reveals three sites listed for Singapore: Labrador, Sungei Buloh and the Southern Islands.Oddly, Labrador is listed as being designated an MPA in 1951. I thought it was designated the same time as Sungei buloh in 2001, see this media article on the ecologyasia website. And it's still not certain whether Labrador's Nature Reserve status covers the shores, more discussion on this on the wildfilms blog.

Under the 'regulations' tab, there is an ominous entry of 'no regulations'.Under the 'habitat' tab, mangroves and reefs are indicated as the major habitats.Under the 'spatial' tab, there is this rather sparse table without a map.OK, we got long and lat and google earth, so here is the magical location of our MPA.This is quite surprising.

In the Urban Redevelopment Authority's website on the Draft Master Plan 2008, these are the designated Nature Areas (NA) and Marine Nature Area (MNA) for this location.I'm not really sure what to make out from all this. Have got to go now to give the public talk at Sungei Buloh. Will ruminate on this further.

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