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10th Para el MAR Awards Most Outstanding MPAs in the Philippines

Last September 27 - 28, 2023, the Marine Protected Areas Support Network (MSN) in cooperation with the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 7, as well as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) hosted the Para el MAR: MPA Awards and Recognition at Bai Hotel Cebu, Mandaue City. 

The Para el MAR (“for the sea”) is a biennial event hosted by the MPA Support Network (MSN) to showcase the country’s best performing Marine Protected Areas. It is part of a performance-based incentive mechanism to reinforce effective management and good, science-based governance. The theme for the 2023 Para el MAR is “𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳: 𝘓𝘎𝘜𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘗𝘈𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘔𝘗𝘈𝘕𝘴”.  There were nine (9) finalists for the locally managed MPA Category, two (2) for MPA Networks, and four (4) for best mangrove awards.

The two-day program started with a learning forum and presentations from the LGUs of the finalists for all categories. Guest speakers were also invited to impart knowledge on conservation topics such as fisheries management, climate resiliency, and digital tools for conservation, to name a few. The event capped off with an awards night where the winning sites from the three categories were announced.  The Most Outstanding Locally Managed MPA Award was given to Siete Pecados Marine Park in Coron, Palawan, the Most Outstanding Network Award to Kabankalan-Himamaylan-Ilog Integrated Coastal Management Council in Negros Occidental, and the Best Mangrove Award was awarded to the Leganes Integrated Katunggan Ecopark in Iloilo. Special Awards were also given to the following:

  • Coastal Greenbelt Award (sponsored by Oceana): Province of Negros Occidental

  • Best in Enforcement Award (sponsored by Oceana): Bato Tagaytay Reef Fish Sanctuary and Siete Pecados Marine Park

  • Largest Marine Protected Area (sponsored by Pacific Environment): Brgy. Ermita Marine Protected Area 

  • Saviors of the Sea (sponsored by PNP-Maritime Group): Siete Pecados Marine Park

Dr. Michael Atrigenio, current president of the Marine Environment Resources Foundation, closed the event by thanking the MSN staff, volunteers, and coordinators, as well as evaluators for this year’s awards for sharing their time and for contributing to the event’s success. He also shared an important announcement to the MSN community regarding the award of a significant grant from Oceans5, a renowned organization focused on marine conservation. The grant is said to support the enhancement of MSN's Secretariat through a groundbreaking project on 30x30, and will support the next Para el MAR Awards to be held in 2025.

For more information on the Para el MAR, please visit the Marine Protected Areas Support Network page


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