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“One Province, One Team” The Siquijor Province Coastal Resource Management Alliance: Champions of the Visayan Seas

Posted on December 9, 2019

FPE Enabling Objectives (EO) 1 and 3: Establish local and international cooperation and constituencies for BCSD;  Promote responsive policies and actions for BCSD

MOA signing on the creation of the Siquijor Province Coastal Resource Management Alliance (SPCRMA). The Alliance consists of the Provincial Government of Siquijor and the municipalities of Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, and San Juan. (Photo credit: CCEF)

As an archipelagic country, the Philippines’ rich marine resources earned its title as the center of marine biodiversity. In fact, the archipelago’s territorial waters overlap with the Coral Triangle region where there is the highest recorded diversity of reef species, corals, and fish (Roberts et al. 2002; Carpenter and Springer 2005; Burke et al. 2011 as cited in Azanza, 2017). 


However, many coastal local government units in the Philippines still lack the management tools, resources, and capacity to manage their fisheries sustainably. The establishment of MPAs or marine protected areas, defined as no-take zones in the marine environment where all forms of physical disturbance and extraction/harvesting are banned, has somehow provided a management tool in the sustainable utilization of marine resources. Nonetheless, albeit the 1,500 MPAs in the country, not all are functional and sustainable in terms of management and enforcement. Social and legal tolerance for overfishing and destructive fishing practices in and around marine protected areas (MPAs) still prevail2.


Just like in most coastal areas of the country, natural and man-made drivers pose an ever-present threat to the marine biodiversity in the province of Siquijor. While 22 MPAs are existing in the said province, the need to strengthen and sustain coastal law and MPA enforcement is still required. On August 13, 2018, through a memorandum of agreement, a marine protected area network was established. Convened and spearheaded by the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF) with support from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, the Siquijor Province Coastal Resource Management Alliance (SPCRMA) was created and comprised of the provincial government of Siquijor, the municipalities of Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria and San Juan, as well as various stakeholders ranging from NGOs, POs, national and local government agencies, and the academe. 

 

Members of the Olang Sanctuary during their learning visit to Mantalip reef in Bindoy, Negros Oriental. 
(Photo credit: Dr. Aileen Maypa/SU-IEMS)


With a rallying cry of “One Province, One Team,” CCEF has implemented Project ISDA (Isda Siguruon Damgong makab-ot pinaagi sa Alyansa) and has actively supported eco-governance through MPA network building, as well as strengthening coastal law enforcement from the provincial level down to the barangay level. The design of the MPA was enhanced to address biodiversity conservation, fisheries stocks, and resilience against the backdrop of climate change impacts. With the dramatic reduction in fish biomass and coral ecosystem integrity exacerbated by rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and increase in sea surface temperature, the project has contributed to marine biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries management and improvement of economically important fish stocks. Project ISDA also conducted science-based monitoring and evaluation to determine its effectiveness, applying the Theory of Change and standard statistical tools. 


Although much is still to be done, CCEF through its Project ISDA has reaped its share of accomplishments. For one, it has officially established SPCRMA, conducted its first regular meeting, and approved 3 resolutions. Training and capability building were also conducted including Refresher Monitoring Training, Dive Safety Training, and the reorganization of the Provincial Monitoring Team (ProMoTe). 


Recognizing the importance of education and awareness, an SPCRMA-wide IEC campaign was also conducted focusing on Fisheries Laws and a Refresher Coastal Law Enforcement Training. Led by the SPCRMA Task Force, BFAR Region 7, and OCEANA, it provided the needed capacity building on illegal fishing apprehension both at the Provincial and Municipal levels. 


Tulapos Marine Sanctuary was also reorganized to strengthen its MPA management. Existing MPAs and adjacent fishing areas were also monitored and evaluated by a joint team of CCEF and Siquijor ProMoTe.


In appreciation of all the efforts, 30 MPA advocates coming from all the stakeholders were awarded in the Isla de Fuego MPA awards sponsored by CCEF, FPE, and Unico Conservation Foundation. Among them are the Binoongan Marine Sanctuary of Enrique Villanueva for Best MPA; Olang Marine Sanctuary of Maria as 1st runner up; Tulapos Marine Sanctuary of Enrique Villanueva as 2nd runner up; Candaping B Marine Sanctuary as 3rd runner up; and Bogo Marine Sanctuary as 4th runner up.


“One Province, One Team” - indeed, SPCRMA is a testament that eco-governance with multi-stakeholder support and convergence from different sectors can bring about functional and sustainable management of coastal resources for future generations to come. 

FPE and CCEF team and the members of the Binoongan Marine Sanctuary during the project year-end assessment conducted in the area. (Photo credit: CCEF)

References:
1http://oneocean.org/flash/the_philippine_seas.html
2http://dumaguetemetropost.com/siquijor-honors-marine-protection-champions-p11228-422.htm
Azanza et al. 2017. Valuing and Managing Philippines’ Marine Resources toward a Prosperous Ocean-based Blue Economy. Public Policy Journal. 18.1-26.pdf

 

For more stories, click here to access the FPE 2019 Annual Report

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