Sea Turtle Corridor Results
fishing boat in Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines
©A.G. Saño
 


In partnership with the Marine Research Foundation of Sabah, Malaysia, CI developed a design for a Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network, which provides a list of sites where protection of coastal and marine habitats is critical for the sustainability of sea turtle populations. This network design has been approved by the Tri-National Committee for Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (composed of environment/fishery agencies from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia). 

The first meeting of the MPA management units in 2010 led to the identification of the following six existing MPAs in the network because of their significance:

  • Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary, Philippines – primary nesting area
  • Turtle Islands Park, Sabah – primary nesting area
  • Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area, Sabah – secondary nesting habitat
  • Tun Sakaran Park, Sabah
  • Sipadan Islands, Sabah – developmental and foraging habitat
  • Tubbataha Reef, Philippines – developmental and foraging habitat

Habitat protection efforts in this corridor was also augmented by training Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary (TIWS) personnel on marine law enforcement, providing patrol boats to the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA), and coordinating with partners and law enforcement agencies in the Philippines and Malaysia. This resulted in increased patrolling effort in SIMCA, where boats crossing the protected area were immediately checked.

In Baguan Island, the no take area of TIWS, park wardens patrol the 29-hectare island to monitor the number of nests and eggs laid and do turtle tagging. Starting November 2009, seaborne patrols were also conducted to monitor or deter illegal fishing activities.  With CI’s support, monitoring efforts have intensified, and in 2009, Baguan Island recorded more than one million eggs laid, the highest number recorded in the last decade. Turtle tagging activities, after being halted for several years due to shortage of tags, have also been resumed, contributing to improved information on turtle migration patterns.