Fish and Benthos

coral reefs

Coral reefs within the MPA extend to mesophotic depths of up to 70 meters (Ross & Hodgson, 1981; Cabaitan et al., 2018). At present, ARNP is known to host at least 63 genera of hard corals and 482 species of fish. The larvae of which are possibly transported to Cagayancillo during the northeast monsoon (Deocadez et al., 2008).

To our knowledge, the earliest known coral reef assessment in ARNP is that of Ross and Hodgson (1981). This was conducted along the fringing reef surrounding Apo Island, extending to mesophotic depths of up to 30 meters. Surveys in the last two decades have been mostly conducted different monitoring stations. These particularly are the 15 monitoring stations established by WWF-Philippines and distributed across the shallow water reefs of the Marine Protected Area.

Coral diversity (as TAUs) of ARNP is under Diversity Category A (>26 TAUs) with an overall average of 30 TAUs (Figure 10). ARNP has higher average TAUs for the WPS Bioregion (19.2 TAUs) and the entire country (14.5 TAUs). The highest coral diversity observed was in Station 6 (50 TAUs) followed by Station 14 (40 TAUs), which are both under Diversity Category A (>26 TAUs).

Relative cover of major life form categories at the 15 monitoring stationsin Apo Reef Natural Park.

Reef Fish Community

          A total of 259 species from 31 families were recorded during the survey. Of which, 223 were major species, 24 were indicator species, and 12 were target species. The overall average species richness at Apo Reef Natural Park is 38.49 species/250 m2 Among the 15 monitoring stations, the highest average species richness was recorded in S08 (56.67 species/250 m2) and Station 3 (56.00 species/250m2) while the lowest was in Station 7 (23.00 species/250 m2)

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