Submerged Treasures

The islands south of Singapore’s mainland support an impressive array of ecologically diverse marine life; the waters off Sisters’ Islands, in particular, are home to some of the country’s richest reefs.

PHOTO WILDSINGAPORE.COM ILLUSTRATION IAN MITCHELL

 

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ocated about 15 minutes by fast boat south of mainland Singapore, the waters surrounding Sisters’ Islands may be the source of the country’s rich coral diversity. Singapore’s waters contain more than 250 species of hard coral – about 40 per cent of the types of coral found in South-east Asia, and about onethird of the global total.

According to research by the National Parks Board and research and consulting group DHI Water and Environment, strong water currents around the two islands pull coral larvae in to take root there.

When the coral spawn, they migrate to nearby St John’s, Kusu, Semakau and other islands.

Fittingly, Sisters’ Islands, their surrounding reefs, and the western reefs of St John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor, are now designated as Singapore’s first marine park. Spanning 40ha, about the size of 50 football fields, it contains abundant marine life, including the clownfish (pictured).

The park, with two dive trails, allows visitors to gain a deeper appreciation of Singapore’s marine diversity, and acts as a platform for educational, conservation and research activities on the marine environment.

Through the exchange of knowledge on biodiversity and conservation, Singapore hopes to contribute to the preservation of fragile marine ecosystems here and elsewhere.


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