Michael Ready is a naturalist photographer and iLCP fellow. He explored the Danajon Bank, a double barrier reef in the central Visayas region of the Philippines. This area has been overfished for years. The Zoological Society of London and partners have instituted 34 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and the results are amazing:
Our dives inside these MPAs were a different experience entirely. Within the protected boundaries, life seems to be returning. The contrast was stunning in some cases, with beautiful corals in abundance – a biodiverse ecosystem is rebuilding. Inside one MPA called Bilangbilangan, seemingly endless fields of hard corals cover the shallow sea floor. Dropping into deeper water, enormous sea fans (or gorgonians) and sponges rise into the current. Even endangered branch corals (Anacropora sp.) can be seen making a comeback.