Napoleon Wrasse is Apo Reef Natural Park’s flagship species

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources MIMAROPA Region, and the Protected Area Management Board of Apo Reef Natural Park have approved on May 10 a resolution declaring Napoleon Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) as the park’s flagship species.

Napoleon Wrasse is one of the largest of all reef fishes and the biggest of the wrasse family, Labridae. It has thick lips and bulbous hump on the forehead. It is marked with green and blue hues with elongated dark spots on scales, and two distinct lines stretching from each eye. This species may grow up to six feet long and weighs up to 200 kilograms. Contrary to its masculine name, Napoleon Wrass is hermaphrodites, which means some females can become males once they reach sexual maturity.

The species is commonly found on steep coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, which include areas in Southeast Asia like the Philippines’ Apo Reef Natural Park in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. As flagship species, Napoleon Wrasse shall serve as the symbol of conservation of Apo Reef. This follows the guidelines in identifying flagship species set by DENR Department Memorandum Order No. 1993-07, which take into account the species’ outstanding characteristics, occurrence, capacity to attract attention, and contribution to conservation areas.
Napoleon Wrasse, named locally as Mameng, is one of the few fishes that feed on toxic animals, such as crown-of-thorns starfish, a poisonous starfish that feeds on corals. Without Napoleon Wrasse, crown-of-thorns starfish would proliferate and devour the corals and prevent their formation.

“We consider Napoleon Wrasse as the guardian of the reef. It is a key player in maintaining balance and vibrancy of marine ecosystem in Apo Reef,” Park Area Superintendent Celso Almazan explained.

“Apart from this, Apo Reef owes its pink sand to the Napoleon Wrasse,” added Almazan.

Almazan explained that the Napoleon Wrasse feeds on mollusks, fishes, sea urchins, crustaceans, and other invertebrates; once digested, these are secreted by Napoleon Wrasse as fine, pinkish organic materials which, over a long period of time, mix with fragmented rock and mineral particles, and form as sand.

Aside from traits and ecological importance, the species’ threat status and inclusion to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), also form part of the guidelines in the selection of flagship species.
Napoleon Wrasse is listed by the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered based on “a population reduction of at least 50% over the last 30 years.”

The alarming drop of population rate can be attributed to illegal, unregulated, and unreported trade of Napoleon Wrasse.
Napoleon Wrasse is harvested and usually served in expensive banquets; it is also collected for aquarium business. The coral reefs, which are the preferred habitat of Napoleon Wrasse, are also under threat from the effects of human activities, such as cyanide fishing.

Because of these, the species is included in CITES Appendix II, which “lists species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction now but may become so in the future unless trade is closely controlled.”

“It is our mandate to conserve and protect our natural resources, especially those that are endangered like Napoleon Wrasse. There is an ecotourism management program that restricts the volume and activities of tourists to minimize the disturbance of wildlife in Apo Reef. There is also a “No Take Zone Policy” in the island and regular patrolling to ensure protection not only of Napoleon Wrasse but also of the rest of the species in Apo Reef,” Regional Director Natividad Bernardino stated.

“We envision a future where we, our children and grandchildren, and the next generations, can still see and experience the awesomeness of Napoleon Wrasse and other aquatic species in Apo Reef,” she said.

Apo Reef Natural Park was declared as a Protected Area through Presidential Proclamation No. 868 on September 6, 1996. By virtue of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7586, the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS), a Protected Area Management Board is created to supervise the operations, protection, and conservation of a protected area. It is composed of representatives from the DENR, the local government, non-government organizations and civil society.###





DENR removes illegal sewage line in El Nido, Palawan; prepares charges against owners of hidden pipes in the island

el nido


     The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - MIMAROPA Region on Saturday excavated from the beachfront of a hotel establishment in El Nido, Palawan, a  PVC pipeline illegally installed within the town’s declared easement zone.

     Detected through the ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey conducted by the Central and MIMAROPA Regional offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau,  the pipeline measuring six inches in diameter and six meters in length was uncovered in front of Outpost Beach Hostel in Brgy. Corong-corong. It was also found discharging black and foul-smelling liquid directly into Bacuit Bay, one of the province’s ecotourism sites undergoing massive rehabilitation. 

     To confirm the source of the wastewater, the regional Environmental Management Bureau used a green tracer solution into Outpost Beach Hostel’s last chamber to which the excavated pipe was connected. After almost 20 minutes, the green solution drained into the said pipe, indicating that the said establishment was the one discharging wastewater from the tank. The EMB shall be conducting further investigation to determine if there are other sources of wastewater discharge aside from the hostel. 

     Paul Sepulveda, one of the co-owners of Outpost Beach Hostel in Brgy. Corong-corong, admitted that they owned the pipe.

     Nevertheless, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado ordered immediate removal of the sewage line as it violates provisions of PD 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, which prohibits any structures within the easement zones without permission from the government. 

      “The law is clear, and so was our appeal to everybody to cooperate with us in rehabilitating El Nido. We will continue to implement measures to find out if there are others who are doing the same and continuously disregarding our call to follow the rule of law. We will hold them responsible,” RED Adornado remarked. 

     The management of Outpost Beach Hostel volunteered to cut the sewage line but contested they were able to secure a discharge permit and the effluent samples taken from their sewage treatment facility passed the water quality guidelines of the DENR. 

     It can be recalled that the establishment was issued a Notice of Violation by the EMB for releasing wastewater exceeding the standards. Sepulveda said they are currently complying their commitments with the EMB. 

     Last year, the DENR created Task Force El Nido to spearhead the restoration of the famous island paradise found beset by environmental problems, such as encroachment of easement zones and high coliform levels in Bacuit Bay. The DENR, together with the local government unit of El Nido, has organized several stakeholders meetings to inform and engage both the residents and business establishments owners in restoring the beauty and cleanliness of the famous beach destination. Under the directive of Secretary Roy Cimatu, the DENR has also also pronounced to be more aggressive in enforcing the laws against anyone who would violate the environment.

      “The Outpost Beach Hostel’s continuous use of hidden sewage lines despite our warnings is a clear violation of the law and a blatant disregard for the environment that provides them livelihood. They are also putting the lives of tourists and residents in danger as they continue to pollute Bacuit Bay,” the director noted. 

      “We have no choice but to perform necessary actions to prevent them from further degrading nature,” he stated.   

     Meanwhile, the excavation site was filled with sand using the backhoe sent by the local government of El Nido. The end of the cut pipe was left open for sampling and analysis by the EMB. 

     “We have to remind everyone that we are preparing Bacuit Bay as Water Quality Management Area so we shall be conducting regular water sampling and analysis not only to Outpost Beach Hostel but also to other establishments to ensure they do not discharge untreated wastewater into Bacuit Bay,” EMB Regional Director Michael Drake Matias said. 

     Besides regular effluent sampling, the DENR and the MGB have been conducting GPR survey of the coastal areas of El Nido since March 18 to detect buried waste pipelines. They are calling business establishments to take Outpost Beach Hostel as an example to avoid interruption in their business operations.

     “You cannot hide them (pipes) forever. We will eventually uncover them so we advise you to remove your illegal sewage lines and comply with the laws for your own good,”  MGB MIMAROPA Regional Director Roland De Jesus stated. 

     The DENR, EMB and MGB in MIMAROPA vowed to impose maximum penalty to any establishments found continuously breaking environmental rules and regulations; and employ unified action to ensure environment protection remains as top priority.### 



Photo Releases

January 27, 2019. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – MIMAROPA Region supports the “Battle for Manila Bay,” the 192-kilometer harbour that has become part of its home for decades now.


"Hindi po magiging ganito kaganda ang El Nido kung hindi ito nai-proklama bilang isang Protected Area."

-Vice Mayor Leonor Corral

DENR Palawan and CENRO PPC personnel joined the 1st SUBARAW Biodiversity Festival Parade and Float Competition last November 11, 2018 at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

"Di po namin kaya kung kami lang sa DENR ang kikilos kaya nagpapasalamat po kami sa ating lokal na pamahalaan at mga partner agencies na kasama namin sa nakaraan at sa susunod pang 20 taon ng pangangalaga sa El Nido."

-Regional Executive Director Henry A. Adornado

"Napakasarap po sa pakiramdam na sa nakaraan 20 taon, nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon mapangalagaan at maprotektahan ang El Nido, ang ating kalikasan. Makakaasa po ang ating mga kababayan, ang DENR, na patuloy nating poprotektahan ang El Nido, dahil ito ay ating tahanan"

-Mayor Nieves Rosento

Themed "Nurturing shared responsibility for biodiversity conservation, the event celebrates two decades of concerted efforts of various stakeholders in protecting, saving and conserving El Nido

Taytay CENRO Pablo Cruz welcomes guests at the 20th anniversary celebration of ENTMRPA. "We thank you and reconize your roles in making our activities in 2018 successful and meaningful."

Turn-over Ceremony of EMB-MIMAROPA Regional Director

Let's explore the TAMWorld! A photo and art exhibit organized by Far Eastern University in celebration of Tamaraw Month this October.

Hataw Tamaraw!

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