CENTER OF THE CENTER OF MARINE BIODIVERSITY IN THE WORLD!
Carpenter and Springer in their 2005 study identified the VIP as an area having the highest concentration of marine shorefish biodiversity per unit area on the planet. Their study analyzed 2983 combined ranges and revealed the central Philippines as the area of highest diversity and endemism. It has about 1736 species overlapping over a 10-kilometer area. In addition, the study showed that the greatest concentration of 120 restricted-range endemics is in the Philippines which has 38, Indonesia/Malaysia 19, Australia 18, New Guinea/Bismark/Louisade 18, Coral Sea/New Caledonia/Vanuatu 17, and seven other localities had either one or two endemics.
The VIP covers an area of approximately 1.14 million hectares stretching about 100 km —from its northwestern point west of Lubang, Occ. Mindoro to its most southeastern point in Romblon Island’s municipality of Corcuera covering the five provinces of Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon.
The SEA Institute’s primary area of coverage will include the five provinces in the Verde Island Passage, namely, Batangas, Occ. Mindoro, Or. Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon. The five provinces within the VIP are popularly known for their tourism values due to their historical, religious and ridge to reef endowments. In addition, it could also cover the larger area of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape and the Coral Triangle region.