talim bay coastal resources management project

by De La Salle University
Vetted
CRM Project  Receives Commendation
CRM Project Receives Commendation

     Lian Fisher Folk Association (LFA), Inc.,  DLSU-COSCA’s partner  organization  of local fishers in  Sitio KayReyna, Lumaniag, Lian, Batangas  continue the regular  reef  checking /  monitoring of  their  Marine  Protected Area (MPA). While we  understand  that the necessary precise information  on the current status  of  Talim Bay coral reef is  being undertaken  in coordination  with the DLSU Biology Department and  or  the  Br. Alfred Sheilds, FSC Marine Station, the  key to getting valuable source  of information for  program stakeholders to  conduct effective management of the coral reef of Talim Bay heavily depends  on the involvement of  community members or  as represented by our  partner local people’s organization (PO), the Lian  Fisher folk Association (LFA), Inc.

     A common objective of LFA’s reef monitoring is to obtain up-dated knowledge on the status of the coral reef. Also,  LFA members, COSCA project staffer or LGU Lian’s Municipal Environment and  Natural Resources Officer undertake reef checking to evaluate management measures implemented  for the Talim bay MPA.  Given these objectives and considering the  potential  of  the organization of local fishers, COSCA, in consultation  with  the fishers in the  community, in partnership  with  the  LGU Lian’s MENRO and with other stakeholders identified problems besetting  Talim bay  and  the  community and  the listed  opportunities available in  the  area.  Possible  options and solutions  were  explored, basically  to  protect  and  conserve the natural  resource  base or the important portion  of the  municipal  coral reef, seagrass beds and  mangrove forest of the bay area.  

     Key  to managing  the Coastal Resource Management initiative is  capacitating  our  partner LFA.  LFA  members were slowly being trained on relevant skills for  reef monitoring.  Initially, LGU Lian’s partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR) trained some  of the  LFA members to  become  Reef Rangers and  First Aid personnel. To further enhance the local people’s skills as Reef Rangers,  COSCA, in partnership with the  Australian Aid – Philippines Australia Community Assistance Program (Aus-Aid PACAP), and LGU Lian supported  the procurement  of  necessary equipment and  the training  of  additional Fishers to be  full-fledged  Reef Rangers. 

     As Reef Rangers, the Fishers are equipped with the necessary skills when facilitating reef  appreciation  activities for students, faculty  and other guests of  LFA.  The  Scuba  Diving training attended  by representatives of  LGU Lian, COSCA  and   Fishers aided  the  local Fishers organization in  the  regular  reef monitoring of  the Talim bay coral reef.  

     This commitment  of the  local  Fishers to help  conserve and protect their natural resource base and the capacity building  provided  by public and  private organizations,  such as  the GlobalGiving earned for the De La Salle University a Highly  Commended Distinction in the  2016 Global University Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) Green Gown Awards (the  only Philippine University to  receive the  award among finalists from Asia Pacific.  DLSU’s entry to GUPES highlights COSCA’s consultative process with the fishing community.

      DLSU President, Dr. Raymundo B. Suplido, FSC, PhD shares, “This has become our  source of  institutional pride and at the same  time a reminder that these types of initiative  should be  replicated in other areas, as well.”

Fishers  to monitor the  reef
Fishers to monitor the reef

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          The restocking activities of  taklobo or  giant clams were  undertaken in Talim Bay  on  April 6, 21 and  May 17, 2016 by  the  LGU  of  Lian( Batangas), in  partnership  with the Lian Fisher folk  Association, Inc. (LFA),  Center  for Social Concern and  Action (COSCA)  and the Department of  Environment  and Natural Resources (DENR).  The  restocking  activities  is  part  of  LGU Lian’s  efforts   to  conserve  giant  clams,  which have  been reported  as threatened and  endangered species.

          Twenty five (25) cultured  large Tridacne gigas  locally  known as  taklobo  were donated  by the   DENR- National while the  DENR –Provincial  donated an additional  22  giant  clams.   The  giant clam nursery will help  improve the  recruitment  potential  of the species of  giant  clams and  in the  long  run   enhance  the  ecotourism  initiatives  in   Lian, Batangas.

           Members of the Lian Fisherfolk  Association  in Sitio Kay Reyna, Lumaniag   serve as  local  stewards as  they  monitor  the reseeded giant  clams in their  Marine Protected Area. 

           Prior  to  the  reseeding /restocking activity, members  of  the  community  were  reminded of  the provisions of  National Laws relevant  to  the  protection of  the giant  clams.  Specifically,   Section  97 of  Republic  Act No.  8550 or the Philippine Fisheries  Code of  1998 states that the fishing or  taking of  rare  threatened or endangered species as listed in the  Convention on  International Trade in Endangered Species of  wild  flora and fauna and  as determined by the  Department is a  violation of the  provision and will entail an imprisonment  of  twelve (12) years to  twenty (20) years and/ or  a  fine  of  one Hundred and Twenty Thousand pesos ( P 120,000.00)  and forfeiture of  the catch, and the  cancellation of  fishing  permit.  

             Fishers  of  Talim  bay took  the challenge of nurturing   the  giant clams and  of monitoring the  nursery as another leap in the performance  of  their  role  as resource managers  of Talim bay and as  biodiversity  conservation advocates.

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The Coastal Resource  Management  (CRM)  has been  DLSU COSCA’s   strategy to  contribute  to  raising  awareness of coastal communities and on advocating policy reforms at the LGU Lian level since  it started its conservation  efforts  in  Talim Bay, Lian, Batangas  in 2004. The  initiatives  have  resulted  to  significant  contributions  in  the  attainment  of  milestones  which  includes  among  others,  the  approval of the  Lian Marine Protected Area (MPA),  regular mangrove planting, strong partnership between COSCA and Lian LGU, installation of MPA zones in Sitio KayReyna, Lumaniag  and Barangay Binubusan in Lian, Batangas.  Also, COSCA’s  partnership with the DLSU Br. Alfred Shields FSC  Ocean Research Center in the conservation efforts in Talim Bay  helped  instill  among  the fishers   the importance of coral reef conservation in protecting the  rich marine  life.

Maximizing the  gains  in the   implementation of the Integrated CRM  in the municipality of Lian and in  line with efforts  to  pursue  Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)  localization,  capacity building interventions will  continue to be  implemented through a transition phase where major tasks and skills will be transferred to the LGU  and  Pos.   The transition  plan crafted and agreed upon  by the  program stakeholders  outlines  the   following  activities  identified  to sustain the efforts in Lian, Batangas:  a) strengthening  of existing structures both at the LGU and community level (i.e. established  barangay councils) through relevant capacity building techniques;  b ) continued enforcement   of the Lian ICRM policies and implementation of  appropriate systems; and, c) preparation  of  both the  LGU and community towards SDG localization.

DLSU- COSCA’s University Community Engagement  Development Program team  facilitated  the conduct of organizational diagnosis   (OD) of   the following  partner  people’s organizations (POs):   a) Lian Fisherfolk  Association (LFA)  on  May 14, 2016;  b) Samahan ng mga Maliliit na Mangisngisda ng Binububusan (SMMB) on April  30, 2016;  and, c) Samahang Mangangawil ’79 on  May  15, 2016.  The  OD activities  were  conducted  to determine the organizations’  level based on critical indicators  of  efficiency  and  effectiveness and to  identify appropriate interventions that will help strengthen COSCA’s partner POs.

The assessment  showed  among others,  the  need to  further strengthen relationship with relevant  structures at the  local  level  such  as the Lumaniag Barangay Council,  need to reinforce among   members of the  community the gains and value of  the Integrated  CRM  and  the establishment  and maintenance of  a Marine Protected Area and  the need  to  improve organizational  systems and policies on eco-tourism activities and  related services such as catering and marketing of mangrove seedlings.

The Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) sought audience last February 2016 with Honorable Isagani Bolompo, Municipal Mayor of Lian, Batangas and Mr. Alvin Jonson, Head of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) to reiterate provisions of the new Philippine Fisheries Code (Republic Act 10654) specific to Regulations on Municipal Fisheries.

 

In a position paper submitted to the Local Chief Executive by Mr. Joseph Rosal, Manager of the University Community Engagement and Development (UCED) Program, a unit of the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) implementing the Talim Bay Coastal Resources Management Project, he reiterates the following provisions of the said code:

 

1). Unauthorized fishing (Section 86);

2). Fishing through Explosives, Noxious or Poisonous Substance or Electricity (Section 92);

3). Use of fine mesh net (Section 93);

4). Fishing in Overexploited Fishery Management Areas (Section 94); and

5). Use of active fishing gears in Municipal Waters, Bays, and other Fishery Management Areas (Section 95);

6). Fishing in Marine Protected Areas, Fishery Reserves Refuge and Sanctuaries (Section 101).

 

The document serves to remind the Local Government Unit to strictly adhere to these provisions to ensure the continued productivity of Talim Bay and the rest of the municipal waters of Lian, these despite the challenges faced by the local reef system from the effects of coral bleaching and incidents of illegal fishing. By citing the key sections of the law, the paper reiterates the need for the major stakeholders in municipal fishing to be vigilant and consistent in the implementation of the said legal instrument.

 

The visit and the submitted document ultimately serves as an assurance that the project being implemented by COSCA is and will continue to provide technical support to the Municipality and its line agencies in its efforts to conserve, protect and sustainably utilize the natural resources of Lian.

 

COSCA together with the LGU and the Kingfisher Association are instrumental in the establishment of several Marine Protected Areas in the said bay and have encouraged the participation of substantial number volunteers from public and private institutions to join activities on Mangrove Forest Restoration and the Reef Appreciation.    

Recognizing the local MPA efforts
Recognizing the local MPA efforts

Presence of marine protected area (MPA) is a test to all community members regardless of their affinity, connection, and position.  In one of our informal conversations with Mr. Ariel Casihan, President of the Lian Kingfisher Association, he shared to us that one of his relative was caught fishing within the MPA.  Even if it was hard on his part, he dealt with the situation as responsible manager of the KayReyna MPA.  This is just one challenging circumstance being experienced by community members and even Barangay officials as they pursue genuine protection of the remaining marine life in Talim Bay.  In the case of Barangay Binubusan, Kagawad (councilor) Efren Padua had expressed how the Barangay council is dealing with everyday challenges in managing MPAs versus resources users.  Striking a balance between strict policy implementation and fair access to marine resources is not merely a responsibility as public official but it is more of an obligation to the next generation. 

Such conservation efforts gained recognition at the 2nd Batangas Recognition Awards for Verde Passage’s Outstanding (BRAVO 2015) Marine Protected Area and Best Bantay Dagat. Barangay Binubusan was awarded 2nd place while KayReyna MPA as 3rd place under Category 1 of Best MPA Initiatives.  This recognition is a joint undertaking of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Conservation International, First Gen Corporation, and USAID. 

Partners of the Lian MPA are continuously pouring in as support to marine life and community implementers.  The Br. SHORE (Br. Shields Ocean Research Centre) of De La Salle University conducted scuba diving training to selected Bantay Dagat members and officers of Lian Municipal Environment and Natural Resource unit as continuing capacity for coral reef check monitoring in all MPAs along Talim Bay.  On the other hand, the College of Law of De La Salle University is exploring possible collaboration with COSCA to assist community members in terms of legal aspect of the MPA. 

 

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Organization Information

De La Salle University

Location: Manila, NCR - Philippines
Project Leader:
Joseph Rosal
Manila, Philippines

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