Common fish and other animals on the reef
A rich reserve of marine species and beautiful corals must have urged the former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos to declare the Apo Reef as a ‘Marine Park’ in 1980. This was followed by an announcement of the local government of Sablayan that the reef was a splendid ‘Tourism Zone and Marine Reserve.’ Finally, in 1996, President Fidel V. Ramos affirmed that the Apo Reef must be treated as a ‘Protected Natural Park’.
The overabundance of colourful flora and fauna have been one of the main attractions of the Reef. Currently, the Reef comprises around 400 different varieties of coral reefs and about 400-500 types of marine species, including sharks, sting rays, and manta rays. About twenty six species of algae and seven species of seagrasses are present in the clear, blue waters.
About 385 species of fish have been identified in the area.
This includes damsel fishes, wrasses, butterfly fishes, groupers, gobies, angel fishes, blennies, parrot fishes, cardinal fishes, snappers and spine checks, trigger fishes, fusiliers, siganids, squirrel fishes, jacks and trevallies. Reef sharks are found in the channel, whereas the white tip, black tip, hammerhead and gray varieties are found in the deeper waters.
Apart from shoals of fish, there are holothurians, sea urchins, crinoids, sponges, sea squirts, brittle stars, worms, snails, nudibranches, octopus, clams, squid, giant clams, coconut crab and rare shells. All the inhabitants together enhance the stunning beauty of the Apo Reef Natural Park.