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Beth Watson/Ocean Image Bank


Philippines biodiversity hotspot gets high-profile recognition

August 18, 2023

We’re very excited to announce that the international ocean organization Mission Blue has recognized the Verde Island Passage in the Philippines as a Hope Spot. Seacology has worked with communities in this area on ocean conservation for many years.

Mission Blue, was founded by renowned marine biologist and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, a member of Seacology’s Scientific Advisory Board. It designates critical ocean areas as Hope Spots, bringing international attention to the need to protect them.

The Verde Island Passage, a strait between the islands of Luzon and Mindoro, is home to off-the-charts marine biodiversity.  Its reefs have shown remarkable resilience in the face of rising ocean temperatures and acidity, resisting and recovering quickly from bleaching events.

Partnerships for the Passage

In recent years, the scientific community, conservation groups, and local people have worked tirelessly to protect the rich ecosystems of these waters. Among other efforts, they have established marine reserves and stopped destructive fishing methods.

Three Seacology projects support these efforts by helping local communities and organizations control the impacts of tourism, protect seagrass meadows, and safeguard a watershed that drains into the passage.

We want to congratulate our friends at the California Academy of Sciences and their local conservation partners, who are dedicated to preserving the area’s marine biodiversity and played a key role in the Hope Spot designation. Last December, a group of travelers led by Seacology and the Academy visited the Passage and our project site in Tingloy Municipality, where senior Academy scientist Terry Gosliner offered insights about the area’s importance and resilience.

We’re optimistic that this well-deserved acknowledgement of the Verde Island Passage’s significance will have a positive impact for the marine environment of the Philippines and beyond.

Our project in Lobo Municipality protects a watershed that drains into the Verde Island Passage

The Seacology-funded welcome center in Tingloy Municipality helps the local community manage the number of tourists that visit a popular beach.