Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

I chose the case study "Involving fishing communities in marine protected area development: The establishment of marine reserves in Negros Oriental, Philippines" which is about a project that has the aim "to protect selected parts of the coral reefs in order to allow over-exploited economically important food-fish stocks to recover".
As the Philippines are an archipelago (about 7.107 islands), it is surrounded by lots of coral reefs. Approximately two million Filipinos are dependent on those coral reefs since they use it for reef fishing in order to earn money and nourish their families. In the last 60 years the population of the Philippines increased enormously and so did the demand for fish. In order to satisfy everyone's needs, fishermen decided to use destructive methods like dynamite fishing. This method is said to be more time and cost efficient than other fishing techniques, but also has "devastating effects on the coral reefs, as the shock waves caused by explosions can reduce reefs to mere rubble zones". Coral reefs, once damaged by explosives, need a lot of time to recover to its previous state. So the nature, animals, but the local fishermen as well, were in need of help to find a solution to keep the coral reefs undamaged, to let the fish stocks recover and to ensure that the fishermen, in the future, will still have enough fish to catch in order to earn their living.
Consequently, there were two who had to and were able to make a change. On the one hand, the Filipino government which then began to ban all destructive fishing methods, respectively fishing at all in certain even more endangered areas. On the other hand, the local communities that arose an exemplary awareness and responsible treatment concerning their environment. All this led to positive impact on the fishermen's catches in areas near the reserves. Also, the protected and remaining reefs were a potential source of profit due to small scale tourism. Here is a another quote which shows the success:

"By the end of 1996, the number of reserves had been increased to 19, covering a total area of 177 ha. This means that about 7 % of the total reef area in Negros Oriental is now protected by law. The reserves are now clearly demarcated, and guardhouses are provided for each local fishing community, whose members enforce the reserves."

In conclusion, I think the most important thing of this case study was the realization and willingness of the local community to change something and, of course, the support of the central and local government.


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