WWF-Philippines Strategies in Promoting Sustainable Marine Resource Use

in Island Communities


Filemon G. Romero




The Philippines, an archipelagic country, is at the world's centre of marine biodiversity but is considered most affected by the biodiversity crisis.Threats such as habitat destruction caused by siltation and other land based sources of pollution, destructive and unsustainable fishing practices including aquaculture, overexploitation and non sustainable use of resources, environmental pollution and weak institutional and legal capacities are seriously affecting marine biodiversity in the country. As a result, most coastal communities suffer from this double edged problem of continuing degradation of their coastal habitats and increasing poverty. In order to check or limit the losses to biodiveristy, the WWF Philippines made tools for conservation available to communities in order to promote shared conservation objectives thereby strengthening their capacity in managing their resources. This has been done through its major programs for the protection and rehabilitation of marine areas and small islands ecosystems of high biodiversity and threatened species of flora and fauna, improving capacity of government agencies, non-government organisations and other key actors of conservation programs, initiating and supporting sustainable community based resource management and financially viable alternative enterprises and enhancing public awareness though aggressive environmental education programs. This paper shares the WWF Philippines framework for sustainable resource use, strategies, experiences and lessons learned from the different approaches to make target communities not only responsible marine resource users but also better stewards of their resources. In the Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area, Sibuyan Island and Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, since these are protected areas, the Integrated Conservation and Development Project (ICDP) approach is being pursued. Ecotourism strategy is used in the Pamilacan Island Whale and Dolphin Watching Village Integrated Development Project in Bohol and the Butanding Ecotourism Development Project in Donsol,Sorsogon. The development of Integrated Coastal Management program is being adopted for Balayan Bay, Batangas. The use of market forces and incentives in order to promote sustainable fishing in coastal communities through the community based blue crab certification project in Negros Occidental is the latest approach that is being tested.