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Old 16th July 2014, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Singapore to get first marine park

Singapore to get first marine park



Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 07:10
Grace Chua
The Straits Times


Singapore's southern Sisters' Islands, and the waters around them, will be the site of the country's first marine park.

The 40ha park, the size of about 50 football fields, will include the western reefs and intertidal zones of nearby Pulau Tekukor, a former ammunition dump, and St John's Island, which currently houses research and recreational facilities.

Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee announced this yesterday morning at the annual Festival of Biodiversity, a nature-education fair held at the VivoCity mall this weekend.

"With the new Sisters' Island Marine Park, I hope that even more Singaporeans will enjoy and value our natural richness," he said. "The charm of the Sisters' Islands is in their undeveloped character, and... the marine environment is fragile."

Apart from letting more people enjoy its charms, designating the area a marine park also means that research and conservation activities will be ramped up there.

The area was picked for its variety of habitats such as coral reefs, seagrass areas and sandy shores, and is rich in marine life such as sponges and giant clams.

In 2011, for instance, the neptune's cup sponge, long thought to be extinct here, was rediscovered off St John's Island.

The Sisters' Islands have been marked out as a marine nature area in the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Parks and Waterbodies Plan since it was introduced in 2003. Nature areas are high-biodiversity areas that are kept as long as possible till they are needed for development.

As a public park, the marine park will be managed by the National Parks Board (NParks), which will take over from Sentosa Development Corporation.

People will be able to sign up for guided walks from next month by visiting www.nparks.gov.sg/sistersislandsmarinepark.

The details are being worked out, said National Biodiversity Centre director Lena Chan, but there are plans for downloadable trail guides, explanatory signs and live streaming of the islands' wildlife.

Currently, there are no regular ferry services to Sisters' Islands and boats need to be chartered for those who want to get there.

Other activities planned for next year include workshops, camps and talks at an outreach and education centre on St John's Island. The National Biodiversity Centre's coastal and marine deputy director, Dr Karenne Tun, said NParks would be doing a feasibility study to fully map the islands, take a census of reef life and work out how many visitors can be allowed without harming wildlife.

NParks also plans to use the park for research and conservation, and to reintroduce giant clams and corals to its waters. Those lobbying for Singapore's blue space to be better protected were encouraged by the news.

Said Professor Barry Halliwell, deputy president for research and technology at the National University of Singapore (NUS): "Marine biologists have long advocated for the establishment of such a park and this is very good news.

"NUS and NParks have collaborated on many projects over the years and we look forward to more joint projects after the marine park is established."

Nature enthusiast Ria Tan, 53, who runs popular wildlife site wildsingapore.com, said: "It's the first marine park that Singapore has, so it's something to celebrate. And hopefully it's the first of more."

But she raised concerns about fishermen using driftnets which entangle horseshoe crabs and other marine life. In response, Dr Chan said details of the budget, manpower and enforcement plan for the new park were still being finalised. Dr Tun said NParks would work with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to engage fishermen on the issue.

In 2009, civil society groups presented a Blue Plan to the Government, calling for several areas including Sisters' Islands, Pulau Hantu, Cyrene Reef and Pulau Ubin's Chek Jawa to be formally designated high-biodiversity areas.

Dr Tun would not say if there was scope for other marine parks. "The role now is just to make this park a success," she said.

Limited spaces for guided walks at low tide on Aug 14 and 15 are available.

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapo...-marine-park-0

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Old 16th July 2014, 12:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Singapore to get first marine park

Really awesome thing I have found here.

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Old 16th July 2014, 10:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Singapore to get first marine park

Cant wait for it!

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Old 17th July 2014, 09:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Singapore to get first marine park

More guided walks planned for marine park

Six more dates have since been set aside for those interested in the guided walks, after places for the first two walks were fully taken up.

By Alice Chia
POSTED: 15 Jul 2014 09:34


URL: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/.../1264356.html#

SINGAPORE: More dates have been set aside for guided walks at Singapore's first Marine Park, after all 90 places for the walks in August were taken up in just three days. The guided walks at Sisters' Island Marine Park will now also be held on Sept 10 and 11, Nov 23 and 24, Dec 22 and 23. Members of the public can register from August 1 at the NParks website.

The park will span some 40 hectares around Sisters' Islands and along the western reefs of both St John's Island and Pulau Tekukor. It will serve as a platform for outreach, educational, conservation and research activities related to Singapore's native marine biodiversity.

As one of the highlights for the guided walks, participants will be brought to an intertidal area that boasts a rich variety of marine life, including sea stars and sea urchins.

The walks will take 45 participants each day, divided into three groups of 15. They are kept small to prevent harm to marine life.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a guided walk along Sisters' Islands on Tuesday (July 15), Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said NParks will also look at how to manage the number of people visiting the area to strike a balance between conservation and visitorship.*

"NParks deploys officers to the island everyday and will certainly be vigilant when the tides are out. We have bookings online so we control the numbers through the guided tours," he said. "Of course people are free to visit the island, but when they do so, we strongly encourage them to be respectful of the biodiversity and the fragile ecosystem here."

The walks are led by trained volunteer guides, including those from nature groups. Ms Ria Tan, founder of nature website wildsingapore, said she hopes visitors to the park will be inspired to seek out other nature spots in Singapore.

"The main message I hope they will take home is that, 'yes, Singapore has marine life!' And to go out and look at other marine life that we have elsewhere in Singapore like Pulau Ubin, Chek Jawa, and Sungei Buloh," she said. "Just because our shores are reclaimed, and we have a lot of shipping, does not mean that do not have marine life."

A giant clam was planted off the shore of Big Sister's Island to celebrate the impending opening of the marine park - it is an endangered species the park will serve to protect.

Future plans include seminars and camps at the outreach and education centre on St John's Island next year. Light infrastructure such as stepping stones may be installed, to give the public access while protecting delicate areas.

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Old 17th July 2014, 10:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Strong demand for tours at S’pore’s first marine park

Strong demand for tours at S’pore’s first marine park


A carpet anemone found during yesterday's introductory guided walk...

Six more dates set aside after slots for first guided walks were fully taken up

By
Siau Ming En
Published: 4:03 AM, July 16, 2014


SINGAPORE — The Republic’s first marine park, located on islands off Singapore’s southern shores, has drawn keen interest.

The number of places for the first two guided tours, which will be held next month, had to be tripled, and all 90 slots have been taken up.

Yesterday, during an introductory guided walk for the media and Minister of State (National Development) Desmond Lee, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced six more dates for these guided walks from September to December.

Although the marine park, which spans about 40ha around the Sisters’ Islands and along the western reefs of St John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor, is publicly accessible, these two-hour guided tours are led by trained volunteers who can share their knowledge of the origins, habitats and fun facts about these marine species, which are unique to the waters there and visible only during low tide.

These species include carpet anemone, moon snails, black sea urchins, sea stars, octopus, flower crab and black sea cucumber. Coral reefs, relocated from the Pulau Semakau landfill, can also be seen on the shores.

Guides will also share some dos and don’ts with visitors during these walks, such as walking on sandier parcels wherever possible to avoid stepping on the coral reefs.

The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park — roughly the size of 50 football fields — was first announced by Mr Lee during the launch of the Festival of Biodiversity last Saturday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the walk yesterday, Mr Lee said NParks would look at how to manage the number of people visiting the area to strike a balance between conservation and visitorship.

“We have bookings online, so we control the numbers through guided tours. Of course people are free to visit the island, but when they do so, we strongly encourage them to be respectful of the biodiversity and fragile ecosystem here,” he said. “We want to focus on positive conservation. We do not want to emphasise on prohibition — you can’t do this, you can’t do that. We would rather educate people, share with them and open their eyes to the tremendous beauty and education opportunities on this coral shore.”

On the possibility of setting up more marine parks in the future, Mr Lee said the focus for now would be on establishing the education, research, outreach and conservation aspects of the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park.

He shared some future plans for the marine park, including building a marine research centre on St John’s Island next year and investing in light infrastructure, such as stepping stones and boardwalks, to allow visitors to tread around the shoreline without damaging the fragile coral.

Citing Chek Jawa as an example of how NParks was able to manage the spike in public interest in the area after reclamation plans were called off, Ms Ria Tan, founder of wildlife site wildsingapore.com, believes the board will be able to handle the new park.

“The marine park announcement garnered a huge amount of public interest. NParks has the experience, so I am quite confident that they can manage it well,” she said.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore...st-marine-park

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Old 17th July 2014, 08:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Singapore to get first marine park

I think this will spark a lot of marine conservatives

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Old 30th July 2014, 10:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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NParks can work with STB to promote marine park tours

NParks can work with STB to promote marine park tours

From
Lim Lih Mei
Published: 4:04 AM, July 30, 2014


I applaud and look forward to participating in the marine park tours organised by the National Parks Board (NParks). (“Strong demand for tours at S’pore’s first marine park”; July 16)

It is an enriching programme, suitable for students and adults who are keen to know more about Singapore’s marine life — hence the importance of conservation efforts.

What beats a first-hand experience, with trained volunteer guides, of our rich biodiversity at these little-known islands? NParks can promote tours for students on weekdays and families on weekends.

It can also consider working with the Singapore Tourism Board, as these tours would be an excellent opportunity to showcase our marine habitats and biodiversity to tourists.

A nominal fee can be imposed to ensure the tours’ long-term sustainability. The money can be used for conservation schemes for native marine life.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/voices/np...ine-park-tours

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Old 30th July 2014, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Singapore to get first marine park

I wasn't selected to participarte in the marine park tour

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