Award winner 2012
Location: Philippines Seas

Anna Oposa

Anna  Oposa (24) won the Future For Nature Award in 2012. She is co-founder of Save Philippines Seas (SPS) a movement to protect her country’s richest marine resources. The financial recourses from the FFN Award enabled her to embark on her dream project to intensify the protection of sharks in the Philippines. She strongly believes that young people can make a difference to change society.

More about Anna Oposa

Anna R. Oposa is a multi-hyphenated changemaker. She is a writer, public speaker, PADI Rescue Diver, and performing artist. Now, Anna is best known as the “Chief Mermaid” and co-founder of Save Philippine Seas (SPS), a movement to protect her country’s richest marine resources by harnessing the power of social media and lobbying for the enforcement of environmental laws.

More about the project

The financial resources from the FFN enabled Anna to embark on her dream project: to intensify the protection of sharks in the Philippines. This brought her to Malapascua Island, where thresher sharks (Alopias pelagicus) regularly visit Monad Shoal, a seamount 8.16 km due east of the island. The thresher shark is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN) Red List. The sharks are seen almost everyday because of their significant relationship with resident Cleaner and Moon wrasses. This cleaning activity is unique to the Philippines, making these species valuable to Philippine tourism and the economy.

Sharks, as the top predator of the sea, play an important role in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem. When these mainly oceanic sharks venture into shallow coastal waters, they become highly vulnerable to fishing and finning. Thresher sharks are among the more demanded species because of their high quality meat. Thresher shark fishery is ongoing in other areas in the Philippines. Eighty percent (80%) of global thresher shark populations have been lost to fishing pressure over the past 15 years.

In this project, Anna’s main role is to engage the various stakeholders of Malapascua to protect their marine resources. An interview with Anna can be found here.

“Anna is not a typical candidate for this award coming from an artistic rather than a scientific background, but with her relentless pursuit of ideals and using all tools of skill, contacts, democratic processes available, she has shown herself a brave and inspiring champion.” – 2012, John MacKinnon, International Selection Committee

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