Oceanographer visits PH to urge Verde Island Passage protection

Famous oceanographer visits PH to urge Verde Island Passage protection

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 08:44 PM July 06, 2024

Famous oceanographer visits PH to urge Verde Island Passage protection

Dr. Sylvia Earle explores Arthur’s Rock at the Verde Island Passage off Batangas in the morning of June 26, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Boogs Rosales)

MANILA, Philippines — Renowned oceanographer and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle visited the Philippines last month to advocate the protection of the Verde Island Passage (VIP)—the world’s “center of the center” of marine shore fish biodiversity.

In a statement on Saturday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that Earle personally dived into the VIP alongside other marine experts to observe the condition of the celebrated marine biodiversity hotspot.


READ: 3 big energy players ink ‘VIP’ pact; green group cynical


Earle is an American oceanographerscuba diver, and research scientist.

She earned the title “Her Deepness” for holding the record for the deepest walk on the sea floor for logging over 7,000 hours underwater, according to the National Geographic Society.

Moreover, Earle was the first woman to lead the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Some of Earle’s most notable awards include Time magazine’s first Hero for the Planet in 1998, the United Nations Champion of the Earth in 2014, and the 2009 TED Prize.

During her visit, Earle also engaged in discussions with conservation partners to give emphasis on the crucial link between biodiversity conservation and climate action.

She also highlighted the ocean’s pivotal role in achieving global climate goals.


Present in the meeting were United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Senator Loren Legarda, representatives from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and De Lasalle University, non-government organizations, Conservation International Philippines, and Communities Organized for Resource Allocation.

Renowned oceanographer and conservationist on VIP

(L-R): U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Mission Blue founder and renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, and Philippine Senator Loren Legarda head discussions on the conservation of the Verde Island Passage and the country’s rich marine biodiversity in a meeting in Pasay City on June 24, 2024. (Photo and caption courtesy of DENR)

Moreover, Earle described the VIP as a unique global treasure with high historical significance and exceptional biodiversity.

“Whether it’s industry, education, science, government, or whatever the powers that are represented, we need to come together to take care of nature take care of the ocean, as if our lives depend on it, because they do,” she said.

READ: Court asked to compel DENR to protect Verde

The VIP is a strait located in the southern part of Luzon Island and bordered by Batangas, Marinduque, Romblon, and Oriental and Occidental Mindoro provinces.

It is known to house more than 60 percent of shore fish species, 338 coral species (eight of which are considered rare), and thousands of other marine organisms.

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The VIP is also known for its mangrove forests and seagrass beds, which are part of the blue carbon ecosystems that contribute about ten percent of the country’s national carbon stock.

TAGS: Environment, Verde Island Passage

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