Scuba Diving in the Sulu Sea

The Sulu Sea is a body of water located off the coast of which country?

And the answer: Philippines.

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The Sulu Sea is situated between the Philippines and the island of Borneo. Located in the middle is a large marine sanctuary known as the Tubbataha Reefs, which is now an UNESCO World Heritage site. Scuba diving trips to the region are often booked years in advance.

Located near the center of the Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reefs showcase some of the most extraordinary arrays of marine life currently untouched by mankind. Thanks to conservation pressure from divers and environmentalists in the late 1990s, the Philippine government designated the reef a national marine park -- the first in the nation’s history. Doing so prevented any sort of commercial fishing or human encroachment, and as a result the reefs remain some of the most pristine today. In fact, the reefs house over 600 species of tropical fish, over 350 coral species (estimated to be over half of all known coral species in the world), 14 species of shark and more.

As one of the best dive sites in the world, tourism ultimately stimulates more for the economy than mass fishing. Tourism is responsible for over half the funding for the park, and helps bring in cash flow to the local government. Further, Tubbataha also boosts the Philippines’ coral-reef fisheries, which contribute up to 29 percent of the country’s total fisheries production. Ocean currents carry huge numbers of larvae from Tubbataha to the rest of the Sulu Sea, an influx that helps replenish fished waters and ensure the country’s food security.

See some shots from the reef for yourself by checking out the video below.

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