A working and operational marine station in Pagasa Island capable of supporting basic lab and field- based studies in marine sciences. There is a need to continue and even expand existing efforts to develop, refurbish and upgrade facilities that will help in understanding the processes in the West Philippine Sea, which would be helpful in framing policy recommendations that may aid in the sustainable utilization and conservation of the Kalayaan Island Group resources in the context of increasing threats of human activities and climate change.



The effects of human activities compounded by changes in the climate are exacerbating ecological problems in the world’s oceans. There is an urgent need to look at how these activities affect different marine ecosystems to gain a better understanding in aid of management of resources, especially for countries that are highly dependent on marine resources, such as the Philippines. Specifically, among the most extensive but least studied areas are found in the West Philippine Sea, which are maritime areas on the western side of the Philippine

archipelago situated in the South China Sea. It is one of the major marine biogeographic regions of the country, which from north to south, covers the waters off the coasts of 13 provinces. These waters are of great importance to the Philippines in terms of fisheries. Fish production from the West Philippine Sea constituted 21% of the country’s total for 2012, equivalent to over 5,000 tons of landed catch with a value of more than PhP 33 million, which also generated employment for 627,000 people.


Located in this expanse of WPS is the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), comprising a group of offshore continental and ocean reefs and islands among the Spratlys Islands. The KIG has an approximate area of 600-1000 km2 that extends from the northwestern flank of Luzon archipelago to the southwest of the island of Palawan.


These islands and reefs found in the western region are ecologically and economically valuable due to the richness in marine habitats that host a vast diversity of economically important fish and other marine organisms, and they are a source of approximately 20-25% of the country’s annual commercial fisheries.


Since the Philippine’s occupation of the Pag-Asa Island in the 1970’s, the island remained severely underdeveloped compared to the smaller features in the Spratlys occupied by other claimant countries. Currently, the island has a weather station and naval station built in the 1970’s but has not been refurbished for four decades.


The main objective of this project then is to repair, refurbish and upgrade the existing marine laboratory in Pagasa Island, the westernmost territory of the country. Specifically, we aim to provide facilities for all visiting scientists by having basic equipment for both lab and field works, improve conditions for living that would allow scientists and researchers to stay on the island for longer periods of studies, establish a strong presence of science work in Pagasa and nearby waters of KIG, and help the locals of Pagasa understand their environment through scientific studies.


A working and operational marine station in Pag-asa Island capable of supporting basic lab and field- based studies in marine sciences.


Dr. Fernando P. Siringan     |


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