SINGAPORE - Singapore's southern Sisters Islands, and the waters around them, will be the site of the island-state's first marine park.
The 40-hectare park will include the western reefs and intertidal zones of nearby Pulau Tekukor, a former ammunition dump, and St John's Island, which currently houses research and recreational facilities.
Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee made the announcement on Saturday morning at the annual Festival of Biodiversity, a public outreach fair at Vivocity.
Sisters Islands were picked for their rich marine life, such as corals, sponges and giant clams. The islands have been marked out as a marine nature area in the Urban Revelopment Authority's Parks and Waterbodies Plan since this was introduced in 2003.
The public will be able to sign up for guided walks there from August, and guided dives in future. Details of public access to the islands have yet to be confirmed. Currently, there are no regular ferry services to Sisters Islands and one must charter a boat.
The National Parks Board also plans to use the park for research and conservation efforts, such as reintroducing giant clams and corals.
Marine environment interest groups have previously raised concerns about destructive illegal fishing with driftnets in the area.
National Biodiversity Centre director Lena Chan said details of the budget, manpower, and enforcement plan for the new park were still being finalised.