NParks launches series of activities to kick-start celebrations for International Year of the Reef 2018
11 Jan 2018
- Activities and programmes for the community will be organised throughout the year
The National Parks Board (NParks), in collaboration with the Friends of Marine Park community and other partners, is launching a series of activities and programmes that will be held throughout the year to celebrate the International Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2018. The year-long activities and programmes in Singapore will raise awareness of the impact of human activity on the marine environment and involve the community in conserving Singapore’s marine ecosystems.
Treasuring our reefs
Singapore’s coastal and marine habitats, including coral reefs, mangroves, and inter-tidal areas such as rocky shores, sandy beaches and seagrass meadows, are distributed along the northern coast, northern offshore islands (Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong), southern coast and the southern offshore islands. These habitats are home to a rich array of biodiversity including more than 250 species of hard corals, which accounts for 32% of hard coral species found worldwide, over 100 species of reef fish, about 200 species of sponges and 12 seagrass species.
"Our marine biodiversity is our common natural heritage”, says Dr Karenne Tun, Director of the Coastal and Marine Branch, National Biodiversity Centre, NParks. “As such, NParks has been working on habitat restoration and species recovery efforts, and undertaking research to better understand and conserve our reefs. At the same time, we are glad to see the community coming forward to play a part in conserving them; from collecting information on our marine biodiversity to spreading awareness about the threats to our reefs, and so we encourage everyone to join us in the upcoming activities as we celebrate the third IYOR.”
Various activities and programmes will be held throughout the year to raise awareness and involve the community. For example, at the marine trash and microplastics workshop on 27 Jan 2018 jointly organised by NParks, the National University of Singapore and St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory, members of the public will learn about the impacts of marine trash on marine biodiversity. They will also better understand community efforts in addressing them, and contribute to our understanding of microplastics in Singapore through a hands-on microplastics analysis workshop. Interested participants can sign up at www.nparks.gov.sg/activities/events-and-workshops/2018/1/microplastics-analysis-workshop from 12 Jan, 10 am. NParks will also be supporting Seletar Mall in their exhibition, ‘Our Home, Their Home’, which features interactive exhibits and games for children from 10 to 18 March 2018. Organisations who are keen to organise events in line with the objectives of IYOR can contact NParks for collaboration opportunities.
Under NParks’ Community in Nature initiative, the public can participate in a range of surveys to help collect data on Singapore’s coastal and marine ecosystems. This include surveys of our coral reefs, intertidal areas, and shores, under the new Beach Patrol programme. A new citizen science programme called Beach Patrol will be rolled out, where volunteers will be trained to identify target coastal species, such as sea turtles and horseshoe crabs, and possible turtle nests, and help to look out for these species along our shores. Members of the public can also organise their own groups to participate in these surveys. For example, for the first time, scuba divers who have experience diving in Singapore can organise their own marine BioBlitzes at specific sites, such as at Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. The divers will help to take photos and record the marine biodiversity during a timed swim at these sites. The data collected will help guide the development of long term conservation management strategies. Please refer to the Annex for more information on these activities.
Activities and programmes will be held throughout the year to commemorate IYOR 2018. For the latest updates, please visit www.nparks.gov.sg/iyor.
International Year of the Reef
IYOR is a global effort initiated by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to raise awareness and understanding of the value of and the threats to coral reefs, so as to increase the effectiveness of conservation, research and management efforts worldwide. Held previously in 1997 and 2008, governments and non-governmental organisations around the world, many in partnership with academia, the private sector and civil society, hosted year-long campaigns of events and initiatives to promote conservation action and strengthen long-term collaborations for coral reef conservation. To continue these efforts, 2018 has been designated as the third IYOR. In Singapore, IYOR is being celebrated by various groups through activities which showcase Singapore’s coastal and marine biodiversity as well as the threats they face. More information on IYOR can be found at www.icriforum.org/about-icri/iyor.