Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Platinum Global Ocean Refuge

Tubbataha Reefs Natual Park strongly protects rich coral reef ecosystems in the Coral Triangle, which is often considered the global center of marine biodiversity.

Global Ocean Refuge Facts
Award Year: 

The Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board of the Philippines and the Tubbataha Management Office 

 970 km²
Other Awards:
UNESCO World Heritage Site, IMO Particularly Sensitive Sea Area, Important Bird Area, Ramsar Wetland of International Importance

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a marine protected area and world-renowned scuba diving site. It is home to more than 1,200 marine species, including sea grasses and algae, corals, sharks, rays, fishes, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. The Park is an exceptionally healthy reef ecosystem and its strong no-take level protections ensure this biodiversity stays safe.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is an important asset for global conservation, as 181 of the species found there are threatened to some degree, from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. Tubbataha is a breeding and rookery ground for many species of migratory and resident seabirds, including the Critically Endangered Christmas Island frigatebird, as well as the Endangered green sea turtles and Critically Endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

Because it’s so far from land, Tubbataha only started to feel the effects of human exploitation in the 1980’s. Recognizing its great biodiversity value, the government of the Philippines first protected the area through legislation in 1988. Protective regulations have only been strengthened since then, leading to international recognition including its Platinum Global Ocean Refuge award.

The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) is a Marine Conservation Institute initiative working to build a global network of effective marine protected areas to save ocean wildlife. In 2018, GLORES grew to include 10 blue parks around the world.