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Meet the 2022 Blue Park Award nominees, and help us evaluate them!

Blue Park Awards recognize outstanding marine protected areas (MPAs) that are safeguarding life in the sea. Nominees for the award go through a rigorous assessment using Blue Parks science-based criteria. They are the MPAs that are in the right places, with the right rules, and the right management to effectively protect marine wildlife. We are thrilled to announce the 2022 Blue Park Award nominees:

Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area in Indonesia

Coral Garden Reflections. Indonesia
A diversity of hard corals thriving on a shallow reef, reflected in a calm surface of the sea. Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Ceram Sea. Tropical West Pacific Ocean.
Coral Garden Reflections. Indonesia A diversity of hard corals thriving on a shallow reef, reflected in a calm surface of the sea. Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Ceram Sea. Tropical West Pacific Ocean.

In the center of the Coral Triangle lies the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area, a network of MPAs within the Bird’s Head Seascape of Indonesia that are co-managed by local indigenous communities and the provincial government, with the collaboration of conservation NGOs. Established to conserve the heart of global biodiversity in West Papua, it has grown to include seven MPAs that protect vast and diverse coral reefs boasting more than 488 coral species, representing 75% of coral species known worldwide. In addition to the expansive reefs, some of the MPAs safeguard seagrass meadows and mangrove forests that provide crucial habitat for juvenile fish.

Apo Reef Natural Park in the Philippines

Located off the coast of Occidental Mindoro in the Coral Triangle, Apo Reef Natural Park the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world. It’s a sanctuary for overfished species in the region and home to an abundance of wildlife, including critically endangered sharks and rays, whales, dolphins, dugongs, and endangered sea turtles.

apo reef island of apo reef natural park
apo reef island of apo reef natural park

Karamunjawa National Park in Indonesia

©Burhan Herjah, Karimunjawa National Park
©Burhan Herjah, Karimunjawa National Park

Karimunjawa National Park encompasses an archipelago of 22 tropical islands on the north coast of Java, Indonesia and protects coral reef, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems with a wealth of associated biodiversity. In particular, Karimunjawa’s coral reefs are known for their structural diversity and high species richness, with over 500 fish species and 180 hard coral species.

Old Providence & McBean Lagoon National Park in Colombia

Colombia’s Old Providence McBean Lagoon National Park, located on the coast of Providencia Island in the Caribbean Sea, protects part of the second largest barrier reef in the Caribbean, as well as mangroves and sea grass meadows. The indigenous Raizal communities led the campaign to create this MPA and play a major role in managing it in concert with their traditions. The coral reefs in the area are uniquely complex due to a combination of wave action and exposure to the Caribbean Current – its soft coral fauna may be some of the richest from the western part of the Caribbean Sea, with 44 species of octocorals.

©Felviper, Old Providence McBean Lagoon
©Felviper, Old Providence McBean Lagoon

 

All four of the 2022 Blue Park nominees have demonstrated evidence of meeting the Blue Park criteria, but we need your help to complete this stage of the evaluation. We have published our draft evaluation reports for each of the nominees on our website for you to review. You can provide invaluable feedback on these Blue Park nominees through the linked comment forms. Particularly if you have experience with any of these nominees, we would love your input! The public comment period will remain open until 11 April 2022 – please help us evaluate the nominees today! Additionally, we are always looking for new Blue Park nominations, so if you know an MPA that should receive a Blue Park Award, tell us about it!

When the 2022 Blue Park Awards are announced, the new Blue Parks will join an international network of outstanding marine protected areas, uniting these special places and the people who care about them. Blue Parks inspire ocean optimism and build conservation momentum as we work to secure 30% of the ocean for nature. You can learn more about the Blue Parks initiative and get to know the 21 awarded Blue Parks by visiting https://marine-conservation.org/blueparks/.