today is world ocean’s day. as a tribute to our planet’s heart, the recently published report by the world wide fund (wwf) for nature is nothing but timely. entitled marine protected areas: smart investments in ocean health, the study stresses for better management of our oceans, pointing out that when coverage of marine protected areas (mpas) are expanded, major economic benefits are expected. accordingly, “the total ecosystem service benefits of achieving 10% coverage of mpas are estimated to be 622-923usd billion over the period from 2015 to 2050. for 30% coverage, the benefits range from 719usd billion to 1,145 billionusd over the same period. (meanwhile,) the estimated net benefit… from increased ecosystem goods and services ranges from 490usd billion to 920usd billion.”
tubbataha reefs natural park in palawan, located in the middle of sulu sea, is what comes to mind after reading the report. tubbataha, the first marine national park in the philippines, only had a coverage of 332km2 when it was first proclaimed in 1988. later on, it was expanded to 970.30km2, a 200% increase in the park’s boundaries, through a presidential proclamation in 2006. dygico, et al. supports wwf’s recent report in a 2013 publication, revealing that there has been an increasing trend in size and number of fish in tubbataha after its ‘growth’. in addition, its fertile reefs constantly seed neighbouring islands like palawan, west visayas and west mindanao with fish and vertebrate spawn generating vast amounts of marine produce, providing food and livelihoods securities.
but come to think of it, results revealed from this study is not new. the persistent emphasis by various experts (and non-experts alike) re-echoes previous literature of our responsibility to protect our oceans for our survival. after all, our oceans play an integral part in our lives. it not only secures our livelihood and consumption, but also plays an integral role in many of the earth’s systems including climate and weather. it is just but right that we make the best and smartest investment/s (for and on it), and make it more resilient.