Program for Sustainable Fishing in the Philippines
Scientists refer to the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines as the “center of the center” of global marine biodiversity. The country’s waters are home to diverse coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves that provide the homes of more than 2,000 species of tropical fish and marine organisms that provide more than 50% of all protein for the country and support the livelihoods of two million fishers and their families.
Today, overfishing is the leading threat to this important marine ecosystem. Less than five percent of the Philippines’ coral reef ecosystems remain in pristine health, and there are fishing grounds that contain a mere 10% of the fish stock present just 50 years ago. Most near-shore fishing is conducted by subsistence fishers in coastal communities – a group that represents not just a formidable threat, but the most likely driver of an effective solution.
To engage local fishing communities, Rare has launched grassroots campaigns at 12 important sites in the Philippines. All are designed to reduce overfishing in a manner that actually improves the livelihoods of coastal communities, which is the key to sustaining impact long term.
Below is a map of all campaign sites within the Program for sustainable fishing in the Philippines
Meet the Rare Conservation Fellows currently working in the Philippines
Accelerating Adoption Of Best Practices In Protected Area Management In Communities Nationwide
In recent decades, the Philippines has established itself as a world leader in marine conservation, decentralizing natural resource management and establishing what many experts agree are the key to successful protected areas – no-take zones (NTZs)*.
These NTZs are marine areas where absolutely no fishing is allowed and which – when well managed by surrounding communities – yield greater stocks of fish to support local livelihoods and food security long term; preserve coral reefs on which tourism depends; and buffer coastal areas from the negative impacts of climate change. This, of course, requires that communities have both the will and the way to adopt better management practices. More than a quarter of the world’s 4,700+ documented NTZs are located in the Philippines, but many exist only on paper.
When developing the Program for Sustainable Fishing, Rare and its partners began by building on the Philippines extensive experience in NTZs whilst identifying bright spots – the few places where community management of NTZs is effective and there are demonstrated benefits to both people and nature. We then built our plan around replicating the most effective practices at 12 new sites, with the ultimate goal making the bright spots the norm, rather than the exception in the Philippines.
Rare program director Stuart Green explains no-take zones
Potential To Increase Impact Exponentially
At Rare, selecting sites and partners is always influenced by the potential for multiplying impact long term. Partners for the program in the Philippines represent a strategic network of local government units, non-profits, and national institutions with some of the best demonstrated technical, political, and community-building expertise in NTZ management. Collectively, they have the potential to improve conservation of 200,000 hectares of protected areas at the heart of which is a core of over 600 hectares of core NTZs.
More importantly, Rare’s strategy is to help build up these areas and their partners into social an ecological networks building on the success of this program, replicating the model to adjacent sites, and multiply exponentially the number of hectares under improved management in the Philippines.
And given the Philippines’ high visibility on the global marine conservation stage, demonstrating a tangible model for success across multiple sites simultaneously will draw worldwide attention to the value of investing in community-driven solutions as an approach to scaling up.
For more information on this program download the brochure: