In the Sulu Sea, Philippines – at the geographic centre of world marine biodiversity – lies an underwater nature reserve that is considered both a mecca for scuba divers and model for coral reef conservation.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a 97,030-hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Palawan, the westernmost Philippine province. It is located 150km southeast of Puerto Princesa City, at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity.
Tubbataha is composed of two huge coral atolls – the north atoll and the south atoll – and the Jessie Beazley Reef, a smaller coral structure about 20 kilometres north of the atolls.
The reefs of Tubbataha and Jessie Beazley are considered part of Cagayancillo, a remote island municipality roughly 130 kilometers to the northeast, inhabited mainly by fisherfolk.