Establishing Singapore’s First Marine Park

http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207

 

Sisters’ Islands Marine Park

 

The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, which will span about 40 hectares around Sisters’ Islands and along the western reefs of both St John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor, will be a platform for outreach, educational, conservation and research activities related to our native marine biodiversity. The location was chosen due to its variety of habitats including coral reefs, sandy shores and seagrass areas.

This new initiative aims to give Singaporeans a first-hand experience of our rich biodiversity which are submerged most of the time. The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park will protect Singapore’s coral reefs, which support an ecosystem inhabited by rare and endangered species of seahorses, clams, sponges and other marine life. More than 250 species of hard corals can be found in Singapore’s waters out of over 500 species within the region. Being located in close proximity to one of the world’s busiest ports, the Marine Park will provide a safe refuge for the teeming biodiversity around the Southern Islands and its surrounding waters, as well as safeguard our natural heritage.

Research activities at the Marine Park will expand our knowledge and understanding of Singapore’s existing marine habitats and biodiversity. Marine scientists and researchers can look forward to more opportunities to conduct a wide range of in-depth studies and regular monitoring on Singapore’s marine environment. Restoration activities including nurseries for iconic marine organisms are also part of the enhancement efforts to be carried out at the Marine Park. One of the species which will benefit is the Neptune’s Cup Sponge (Cliona patera), thought to be globally extinct for more than 100 years until it was rediscovered off Singapore’s coast in 2011.

 

 

Introductory Guided Walks at Sisters’ Islands Marine Park

 

  

 

About the Introductory Guided Walks

 

The intertidal area at Sisters’ Islands Marine Park is most suitable for visiting during low tides of 0.4 metres and below. That is when you will be able to see the area teeming with marine life. At higher tides, the area will be submerged under water. Nature guides will be at hand to bring you on a tour to experience the Marine Park’s amazing biodiversity. These guided walks are conducted free of charge. Each guided walk session is open to a maximum of 15 people.

 

Guided Tour Dates

 

Date Day Time
14 August 2014

FULLY BOOKED*

Thursday 7.30am – 9.30am
15 August 2014

FULLY BOOKED*

Friday 7.30am – 9.30am

*Please check back for upcoming tour dates.

Biodiversity

 

Singapore’s waters are home to:

· More than 250 species of hard corals (32% of hard coral species found worldwide)

· More than 100 species of reef fish

· About 200 species of sponges

· 12 seagrass species

 

Interesting species

 

1. Anemone shrimps (Periclimenes sp.)

· Usually found on large sea anemones

· Do not eat/get eaten by the host anemone; believed to shelter in the
anemone for protection and may feed on left-over

2. Giant Clams (Tridacna spp.)

· The largest living bivalve molluscs in the world

· Individuals display a variety of colourful mantle

· Three species are still found in Singapore

3. Seahorses (Hippocampus spp.)

· Swims vertically upright

· The male broods the young in their pouch

· Require calm waters with many hiding places, such as seagrass meadows

· Have bony plates just under their skin instead of scales

4. Black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota)

· Gathers food from the surface using its long feeding tentacles

· Most of the body is usually wedged under rocks or crevices

· Larger individuals that live in deeper water

5. Common sea star (Archaster typicus)

· Grows up to about 12- 15cm

· Feeds on detritus, decaying plants and tiny animals

· Males usually move on top of females; believed to increase the chances of
external fertilisation.

 

 

The Marine Park’s multiple roles and functions

 

Roles

Key points

Outreach

– The public can also sign up as volunteers to assist in marine biodiversity programmes such as

   o International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) – gathers data on marine debris found on our
beaches and mangrove areas

   o Citizen science programmes that will be rolled out as part of the Marine Park’s activities

Education

– Educational programmes will be available for interested participants to learn about marine
biodiversity

– These programmes include

   o Remote monitoring programmes for schools

   o Workshops, talks and seminars

Conservation

 

– Enhancement activities will be carried out to improve existing marine habitats and enhance
biodiversity

– Examples include nurseries for corals, giant clams, Neptune’s Cup sponge and other iconic
marine organisms

– Monitoring works conducted regularly

Research

– Marine research will be centred around the Marine Park, focusing on various aspects of marine
biology, ecology and restoration

Map of Sisters’ Islands Marine Park

 

Getting there

Visitors can charter their own boat from West Coast Pier or Marina South Pier to visit Big Sister’s Island. We advise the public to join the introductory guided walks organised by NParks, for a more fulfilling trip. Boats will be chartered for participants of NParks’ guided walks

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