Marine protected areas in the Philippines: The case of Malalison island in community-based management of reef fisheries
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The extensive Philippine coastline of more than 22,540 k m provides the natural habitat of a variety of flora and fauna that make the Philippine archipelago one of the centers of marine biodiversity in the world. Resource-use conflicts, overexploitation, and the pressure to feed the teeming population in many fishing communities have however degraded these habitats, seriously threatening marine biodiversity that supports the biological productivity of the country's coastal fishery. Encouraged by recent enabling national legislation (e.g., the Local Government Code of 1991, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998), grassroots advocacy in many municipalities has grown to address this threat, resulting in the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs), particularly in coral reef management. The over 550 MPA s catalogued in the Philippines to date were established primarily to enhance local fishery yields for artisanal fishers and secondarily to protect coastal habitats for biodiversity conservation and multiple economic uses. Enforcement in a majority of these MPAs is a serious problem however. Many government and donor-assisted projects, such as the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Puerto Galera and Palawan, have promoted integrated management of both upland and coastal habitats, but these too suffer from persistent conflicts in multiple resource-use and the lack of sustained enforcement by stakeholders. Our recent experience in Malalison Island, central Philippines describes the efforts of empowering the island fishers themselves to be effective and responsible managers of their marine resources. Grassroots empowerment required organizing the island fisherfolks in 1991 into a working association to promote collective action on a number of local reef fishery management initiatives, particularly the establishment of exclusive-use rights over the island's reef fishing grounds, which entailed influencing the municipal government and neighboring villages. Specific interventions that followed were highlighted by the establishment of a no-take marine reserve and the deployment of concrete artificial habitats in one of their fishing grounds in Gui-ob reef in 1995-1996. Indicators of equity, efficiency, and sustainability suggest that island fisherfolks have gained greater control over their reef fishery resources, allocated their fair share of access rights, and influenced the formulation of fishery co-management policies through direct participation. In the process of empowerment, the island community leaders and many members have become bold and confident in publicly articulating their vision of sustaining harvest from their reef fisheries, a trait that they have not openly displayed prior to 1991. The experience in Malalison Island has demonstrated that fishery co-management, as exemplified by sustained protection of a no-take marine reserve, can be an achievable goal in the Philippines. It may serve as a valuable model to be followed by other coastal fishing communities in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
Garcia, L. M. B., & Primavera, J. H. (2004). Marine protected areas in the Philippines: The case of Malalison island in community-based management of reef fisheries. In Ecosystem Approach in Action in Biosphere Reserves of Southeast and East Asia with Thematic Exchange on Biosphere Reserve in the Context of Large Scale Freshwater Ecosystems: Proceedings of the 1st Workshop of Ecotone Phase II and the 3rd Meeting of Southeast Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (SeaBRnet), Phnom Penh & Siem Reap, Cambodia, 26 October - 1 November 2003 (pp. 137–145). Phnom Penh, Cambodia: UNESCO Office.
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Potential and prospects of southeast Asian eel resources for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development The world demand for river eels has been increasing mainly because of the market expansion of some delicacies such as the kabayaki (broiled eel with sweet soy sauce) in East Asia. While most of the world’s eel production is derived from aquaculture, it should be noted that eel aquaculture is still dependent on the natural resources. As techniques for the full-life cycle aquaculture of eels have not yet been fully developed for commercial use, the eel aquaculture industry is still solely dependent on wild resources for seed stocks. However, the natural resources had been confronted with various factors that could possibly create negative impacts on the eel resources including habitat alteration, overexploitation, climate change, pollution, and incidence of diseases. Thus, concerns on the sustainability of various eel species in the world have increased in recent years. It should be reckoned that the European and American eels are already threatened to certain degree by pollution and damming (or the construction of dams that prevent their migration to freshwater bodies) leading to almost “close to collapse” of the European eel resources. This situation prompted CITES to list the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in CITES Appendix II in 2009 and accordingly, trade restrictions of the European eel and its products came into effect. In Southeast Asia, it is known that aquaculture and inland capture fisheries of eel are practiced but data and information on the total production of eel in the region remain very minimal. In this regard, the Southeast Asian countries have been encouraged to report their respective eel production to SEAFDEC in order that the status and trend of the region’s eel resources could be established and the statistics could be appropriately reflected in the Fishery Statistical Bulletin of Southeast Asia produced yearly by SEAFDEC. Meanwhile, in an effort to conserve the eel resources in Southeast Asia, SEAFDEC recently launched a project on Conservation, Management and Sustainable Utilization of Eel Resources in Southeast Asia with funding support from the Trust Fund for SEAFDEC of the Fisheries Agency of Japan.
Socio-cultural context of fishers’ participation in coastal resources management in Anini-y, Antique in west central Philippines The vicious cycle of poverty, overfishing and resource degradation in coastal communities in the Philippines calls for action that will address the problem of declining fish catch and degraded fish habitats. The literature has shown that an efficient and effective coastal management program can be instrumental in approaching this problem. In order to secure food and livelihood of fishers, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center/Aquaculture Department collaborated with the local government of Anini-y, Antique to develop a sustainable utilization of natural marine resources through sea ranching of abalone within the Nogas Island marine protected area. Establishing a marine protected area is a means of conserving natural stocks while sea ranching is considered an effective strategy that can increase fishery resources. The two management schemes are considered as effective coastal resources management strategies. The success of a sea-ranching project is dependent not only on biophysical but also on socioeconomic factors as determinants of community participation and cooperation. A social assessment was conducted to determine the fishers’ socio-cultural characteristics, their perceptions of their coastal resources and knowledge on how to effectively manage these coastal resources. The fishers’ awareness on fishing regulations and the extent of their participation in community's coastal resources management activities were also determined. Data were collected from a household survey using a semi-structured questionnaire, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with key informants. The fishers generally scored low in almost all aspects of their socioeconomic wellbeing. Most fishers perceived that their coastal resources were in a bad condition which they attributed to illegal and commercial fishing, increasing number of fishers and the poor enforcement of fishery regulations. However, the weighted mean scores of their knowledge on coastal resources management, awareness to fishery regulations and participation in community coastal resource management activities were average. This implied that fishers when trained and developed can become potential partners for effective coastal resources management programs.
BookLMB Garcia (Ed.) - 2001 - Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development CenterThis report describes the present state of marine resources in several coastal barangays of Ibajay and Tangalan, Aklan (Philippines). Field data were obtained from rapid surveys conducted from July to September 1998. Recommendations based on analyses of the data will guide fisherfolk and other stakeholders, particularly the local government units, in their development plans for these neighboring municipalities. Both land and marine products in the area are mainly harvested for the local market. All coastal barangays are dependent on fishing for their livelihood. The medium-scale municipal fishery of Tangalan employs several passive (encircling gill net, bag net, fish corral) and active gears (baby purse seine) compared with the traditional fishing methods employed by Ibajay fishers. Pond aquaculture in mangrove areas is well-developed in Ibajay West (barangays Aquino and Ondoy) and in Tangalan. However, ownership of these ponds is limited to a few individuals and families, unlike in Barangay Bugtong Bato where informal ownership distributed among families has been the traditional rule. Nonetheless, the introduction of so-called environment-friendly methods of utilizing mangroves (e.g., aquasilviculture) and other shared coastal resources may seriously undermine the informal rights-based social structures in the barangays. Without proper rules and enforcement, the application of these methods may be misused, aggravating the already poor overall state of their coastal resources. Major problems affecting their fishing livelihood include siltation of nearshore waters due to illegal deforestation upland, encroachment of municipal fishing grounds by commercial and other fishers elsewhere, and the lack of capital to finance the fishery. Weak inter-organizational links among government and non-government organizations have hampered the implementation of solutions to these common problems in coastal barangays. For instance, a conflict between fishers from these neighboring municipalities over territorial boundaries of common fishing grounds in Pangayawan and Pungtod reefs has not been resolved over the years. Likewise, the introduction of aquasilviculture in mangrove areas may become a potent source of conflict among resource-users who maintain informal rights over the mangrove resource. The overall state of coastal resources in these municipalities is in immediate need of a unified plan to promote both their preservation and conservation. To achieve this end, a joint resource management council representing all resource-users from both municipalities must be organized and convened. To address the presently weak inter-organizational links among existing organizations, this joint council may provide a legitimate forum to identify, resolve, integrate, implement, and enforce guidelines on the common use of resources, both marine and inland. Low estimated yields from the reef fishery, conversion of mangroves for aquaculture beyond the allowable limit, a persistent conflict over fishing rights in several reefs offshore, the limited resources for seaweed and fish mariculture, and threats on existing traditional social structures by progressive resource-users are several issues that require thorough discussions to formulate popularly approved and acceptable management strategies. These strategies include community-based approaches of co-managing resources such as "no-take zones" (sanctuaries), ecotourism development, and livelihood schemes to mitigate, in part, the pressure of over-exploitation of fishery resources.