When a natural marine site garners the status of being of superlative aesthetic importance, or one that records Earth’s history, or a place that have become a habitat for species conservation, it attains the prestigious title of being a UNESCO Marine World Heritage Site. Here are the list of UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites around the world.
When a natural marine site garners the status of being of superlative aesthetic importance, or one that records Earth’s history, or even a spot that can demonstrate ongoing evolution, or a place that have become a habitat for species conservation, it attains the prestigious title of being a UNESCO Marine World Heritage Site.
With this title comes a decree that aims to establish effective conservation of these marine areas. Known as the “Outstanding Universal Value” (OUV), it refers a site’s exceptional cultural or natural significance that transcends boundaries and impacts both present and future generations. It is the central concept of a site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
In order to be considered, countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention can submit official nomination proposals. Besides making an inventory of its most important heritage sites, they must also include a comparison of the property to the features of others’ worldwide, thereby demonstrating its OUV.
After evaluation by independent Advisory Bodies, the Committee convenes once a year to decide which sites will be inscribed. Natural sites must meet at least one out of four selection criteria of OUV to be inducted.
1. NATURAL SYSTEM OF WRANGEL ISLAND RESERVE, RUSSIAN FEDERATION 2004
This site is a major feeding ground for the grey whale migrating from Mexico.
2. SHIRETOKO PENINSULA, JAPAN 2005
The site is globally important for marine mammals including Steller’s sea lion.
3. THE SUNDARBANS, BANGLADESH 1997
The site is knows for threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile.
4. SUNDARBANS NATIONAL PARK, INDIA 1987
The Sundarbans support threatened mammals such as the Irrawaddy and Ganges River dolphins.
5. SOCOTRA ARCHIPELAGO, YEMEN 2008
The marine life here includes 253 species of reef-building corals and 730 species of coastal fish.
6. PUERTO-PRINCESA SUBTERRANEAN RIVER NATIONAL PARK, THE PHILIPPINES 1999
The site includes a subterranean river system that flows directly
into the sea.
7. OGASAWARA ISLANDS, JAPAN 2011
The islands demonstrate evolutionary processes and feature many endemic species.
8. ROCK ISLANDS SOUTHERN LAGOON, PALAU 2012
The complex reef system features over 385 coral species and different habitats.
9. TUBBATAHA REEFS NATURAL PARK, THE PHILIPPINES 1993
The site is a pristine coral reef with a 100 m perpendicular wall, lagoons and coral islands.
10. PHOENIX ISLANDS PROTECTED AREA, KIRIBATI, SOUTHERN PACIFIC OCEAN 2010
The site conserves one of the largest intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems.
11. ALDABRA ATOLL, SEYCHELLES 1982 is protected from human influence and is home to some 152,000 giant tortoises.
12. UJUNG KULON NATIONAL PARK, INDONESIA 1991
The site is home to amphibians including the vulnerable estuarine crocodile.
13. KOMODO NATIONAL PARK, INDONESIA 1991
Marine species richness is very high, including the blue whale and sperm whale.
14. EAST RENNELL, SOLOMON ISLANDS, RENNELL AND BELLONA PROVINCE 1998
Rennell, 86 km long and 15 km wide, is the largest raised coral atoll worldwide.
15. NINGALOO COAST, AUSTRALIA 2011
Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast.
16. GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA 1981
This site contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, including 400 types of coral.
17. SHARK BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1991
The site’s rich marine life includes a large population of dugongs (sea cows).
18. NEW ZEALAND SUB-ANTARCTIC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND 1998
The site features a close inter-dependence of marine and land environments for many species.
19. HEARD AND MCDONALD ISLANDS, AUSTRALIA 1997
The islands are virtually free of introduced species modification, providing an intact ecosystem.
20. MACQUARIE ISLAND, AUSTRALIA 1997
The site is home to thousands of penguins and elephant seals during breeding season.