Coral Reef Restoration and Education Program

The Tres Marias Coral Reef Restoration and Education Project seeks not only to help the communities establish a marine no-take zone in Tres Marias, a previously dynamited reef area, but goes one-step further through coral reef restoration done in April-June 2006 utilizing EcoReef modules from a grant from Seacology. By raising the awareness of the communities around, specifically the youth, on the importance of coral reefs in sustaining fish biomass in the area, the possibility that the benefits of protecting the area’s biodiversity are directly shared by the community, is great. The project demonstrates that strong community involvement, through targeted environmental education, in the establishment and restoration of a natural habitat (e.g., coral reef), would be beneficial to both the communities and El Nido’s natural environment.

A total of 1,010 volunteers were involved in the implementation of the project in 2006. These included divers who participated in underwater module installation and coral fragment wedging. El Nido stakeholders from different sectors participated in the loading, unloading, and assembly of the Ecoreefs™, joined by volunteers from outside El Nido municipality.

The education program is a vital component of coral reef restoration. This includes the conduct of environmental caravans in various barangays, installation of billboards and signages, as well as the active involvement of the community as stewards for stricter enforcement and protection of the sanctuary.

Environmental caravan

Enforcement Planning Workshop

Installation of Tres Marias billboard

Signage installation in Tres Marias

Tres Marias Marine Sanctuary was officially established in 2007. It was recognized as a finalist in the biennial Para el Mar 2017, an award recognizing outstanding Marine Protected Areas in the Philippines.

Tres Marias prior to installation

Tres Marias 2012

Tres Marias 2015

Tres Marias 2017