Singapore to establish first marine park

Singapore to establish first marine park
President Tony Tan being briefed on Singapore first Marine Park

SINGAPORE - Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee announced today that Singapore will establish its first Marine Park.

Progress is underway for this latest conservation initiative by the National Parks Board (NParks), which was unveiled this morning at the Festival of Biodiversity 2014, launched by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

The Sisters' Islands Marine Park, which will span about 40 hectares around Sisters' Islands and along the western reefs of both St John's Island and Pulau Tekukor, serves as a platform for outreach, educational, conservation and research activities related to our native marine biodiversity.

The location was chosen due to its variety of habitats including coral reefs, sandy shores and seagrass areas.

A number of nature groups have come on board to offer outreach activities like intertidal walks and guided dives to encourage greater appreciation of Singapore's native marine biodiversity.

Following the introductory guided walks held this year, more activities are being planned for roll out next year. These include workshops, seminars, camps and talks at the outreach and education centre on St John's Island. School groups can also be involved in monitoring programmes which will contribute to data collected for marine biodiversity research.

Minister of State for National Development, Desmond Lee said, "Much work has been done over the years to conserve our biodiversity. The Singapore we know today is one that is not only replete with greenery but one that is also teeming with various species of wildlife and marine life. Of course, more can be done and I am heartened to know that the public agencies, NGOs and the community are all working together to further conserve our rich biodiversity. The new Sisters' Islands Marine Park will strengthen this partnership and allow people to make a real difference to the environment by ensuring the survival of our precious native species."

Kenneth Er, NParks CEO shared, "The annual Festival of Biodiversity celebrates our rich natural heritage, and also the joint efforts between the National Parks Board and partners like universities and NGOs to encourage appreciation of our local flora and fauna. With the Sisters' Islands Marine Park, we hope to provide a wider range of opportunities for the community to contribute to citizen science by documenting biodiversity data which will support our conservation efforts."

As visibility of the marine life is subjected to tidal patterns, visitors interested to join the guided walks are encouraged to register early at www.nparks.gov.sg/sistersislandsmarinepark from today onwards.

Introductory guided walks next month will be held on Aug 14 and 15, 2014.

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