marine-themed informational flash animations

Extracted and adapted from “Philippine Coastal Management Guidebook Series No. 1: Coastal Management Orientation and Overview,” published in 2001 by DENR, DA-BFAR and DILG through the Coastal Resource Management Project of DENR and USAID. The complete series can be downloaded here.

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Go Easy on the Sea

With 7,100 islands and 18,000 km of shoreline, the Philippines is a maritime nation, dependent to a major extent on a healthy coastal environment. The Philippine archipelago is endowed with ecologically diverse and economically important coastal resources such as coral reefs, mangroves, estuarine areas, beaches, and a variety of fisheries. Philippine coastal areas and seas have served as the lifeblood of communities near and far for hundreds if not thousands of years. Managed properly, these resources can continue to benefit the Philippine economy and the well-being of many coastal residents (White and Cruz-Trinidad 1998).

Coastal resources provide much of what supports daily life: food, livelihood, economic development, clean water, and even the air we breathe. Healthy coral reefs may support fish harvests of up to 30 t/km2/year (Alcala 1981, 1988; White and Savina 1987; Alcala and Russ 1990; Christie and White 1994). Mangrove areas provide a wide range of benefits including clean water, food, medicines, and shoreline protection. These coastal habitats along with seagrass beds support the valuable multi-species fisheries in the Philippines.

Despite these important direct and indirect benefits to humans, coastal resources in the Philippines are being severely degraded (White and Cruz-Trinidad 1998).

The coastal zone is legally defined to extend 1 km inland from the shoreline at high tide and to seaward areas covered within the 200-m isobath. Of the areas seaward of the low water mark, the marine waters out to 15 km are under local government jurisdiction, while the national jurisdiction extends from 15 km from the shore up to 200 nautical miles. The extent and importance of coastal resources and coastal areas in the Philippines are highlighted by a few facts:

More than 50 percent of Philippine municipalities are coastal;
Almost all major cities are coastal;

62 percent of the population lives in the coastal zone;

There are about 27,000 km2 of coral reef but less than 5 percent is in excellent condition;
120,000 ha of mangrove remains, only about 25 percent of the area in 1920; and
More than 50 percent of the animal protein intake in the Philippines is derived from marine fisheries.

Over the last 20 years, coastal areas in the Philippines have come under increasingly severe threats due to human activities. More than 75 percent of the coral reefs in the Philippines have been degraded from human activity (Figure 1) (Chou et al. 1994; Gomez et al. 1994). Mangrove forests are declining at a rate of 2,000 ha/year with only 120,000 ha of mangrove forests remaining today from the 160,000 ha 20 years ago and 450,000 at the turn of the century (DENR 1995; White and de Leon 1996) (Figure 2). Municipal fisheries production has been relatively stagnant for the last 20 years with recent and noticeable declines annually since 1991 (BFAR 1995, 1997) (Figure 3).

Figure 1. Status of Philippine coral reefs at 14 localities (85 reefs sampled) (1990) (Gomez et al 1994)

Figure 2. Decline of mangrove resource in the Philippines (DENR 1988, 1995; White and de Leon 1996; White and Cruz-Trinidad 1998)

Figure 3. Trend of catch per unit effort since 1948 (Dalzell et al 1987); Silvestre and Pauly 1989; Dalzell and Corpuz 1990; BFAR 1997)

Coastal ecosystems and their natural ability to produce are being overexploited to the point of causing permanent damage to them. This means that future generations will have fewer resources and the natural productivity of the ecosystems will be significantly reduced. To continue overexploiting coastal resources at the current rate is analogous to letting termites eat the foundation of a house. The effects would be tolerable and not noticed initially, but one day the house would collapse! One day our fisheries will also collapse unless we manage them and their coastal habitats effectively.

The coastal situation in the Philippines mirrors global trends where unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution, and habitat destruction are resulting in significant, if not irreversible, loss of the ocean and coastal life support systems. In 1989, the world catch of marine life reached a record high, 89 million tons, which has since declined (Weber 1993; McGinn 1998).

Globally, the largest sources of marine pollution come from the land in the form of runoff and air pollution (Weber 1993). The effects of global climate change from burning of fossil fuels are now evident in tropical environments through a slight warming of marine waters. Coral reefs may be the early warning indicators of this global climate change, being very sensitive to small changes in temperature. In 1998, record high sea surface temperature resulted in mass coral bleaching around the world. Repeat events are predicted in the future. Tropical coastal ecosystems may be the most vulnerable to these global trends because of the narrow temperature range to which corals and other organisms are adapted. Without management, as population grows, human impacts on these fragile ecosystems will get worse – the world population reached 6 billion in 1999 with little evidence that the rate of growth will slow down.

Coastal areas in the Philippines are experiencing:

Rapid population growth due, in part, to migration to coastal areas. About 60 percent of the Philippine population lives within the 832 coastal municipalities and 25 coastal cities (DENR et al. 1997);
Widespread poverty in coastal areas. Fishers, in particular, are among the poorest of the poor;
Declining fisheries productivity due to overharvesting and loss of habitats (Courtney et al. 1999).
Increasing population and poverty have put additional pressure on resources. Fish production has increased by 17 percent in just over a decade, but per capita consumption of fish has declined;
Increasing environmental damage. Overfishing, the use of destructive fishing practices, and the conversion of coastal habitats to other uses have resulted in alarming degradation of coastal areas (DENR et al. 1997). More than 70 percent of mangroves have been converted for aquaculture, logged, or reclaimed for other uses;
Low average production per unit area of fishponds and relatively low economic returns retarding needed investment to improve aquaculture production;
Increasing pollution from land-based activities, industrial and urban development, deforestation and agriculture, all of which contribute to declining productivity in the marine environment as water quality is lowered; and
Potentially great impacts from global climate change on coral reef ecosystems and the fisheries they support.

The Philippines holds a bleak picture of its coastal resources, with much to do to reverse current trends. In order to sustain and eventually improve the benefits we all derive from coastal resources, significant commitments and investments must be made by coastal communities, local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), and assisting organizations to change from the current self-destructive course to one of conservation and sustainable use of coastal resources. Furthermore, these efforts and initiatives must be coordinated and harmonized to achieve the goal of sustaining these benefits for future generations.

Coastal management provides the tools for slowing and hopefully reversing the negative impacts of uncontrolled use of these resources. Coastal management also provides the essential processes for integration of all sectoral, spatial, temporal, policy, and institutional components necessary to achieve the goal of sustainable development (Sorensen 1997).

We must look at the larger picture of what forces are affecting our coastal environment before we can progress in managing people and resources for sustainable uses (Figure 4). Sustainable development and use of natural resources can be very elusive if we do not fully understand the natural limits of the resource systems.

Figure 4. Various economic activities and their impacts on the coastal environment (Click here to view larger image)

Issues affecting the Philippine coastal
and marine environment

The many serious problems existing in Philippine coastal areas must be addressed to ensure that the natural productivity of these areas are not further compromised and degraded. Key issues that need attention urgently are:

1. Resource use conflicts
2. High population growth rate and poverty
3. Illegal activities
4. Pollution
5. Food security
6. Biodiversity conservation
7. Policy and institutional gaps and conflicts

Resource use conflicts
Coastal areas all over the Philippines are being developed rapidly because people like to live and do business near the sea. The consequence is that beaches, foreshore land areas, and nearshore coastal habitats are in demand and are being utilized for a wide variety of conflicting human uses including industry, construction, dumping, boat landings, tourism, and habitation.

Legally, by virtue of the Local Government Code of 1991, much of the area within 15 km from the shoreline has been reserved for the use of municipal fishers. In addition, the Fisheries Code of 1998 reserves up to 10 km of municipal waters for the exclusive use of municipal fishers. Nevertheless, many use conflicts between municipal and commercial fishers still persist within the 10- and 15-km limits.

While commercial fishing is strictly prohibited within municipal waters by national laws, intrusion of large, highly efficient, commercial fishing vessels is prevalent. One result of the conflict between the commercial and municipal sectors is decreasing catches. Catch from the municipal sector is being overtaken by catch from the commercial and aquaculture sectors; meanwhile, municipal fishers are growing in number.

The willingness of fishers to continue fishing when catches are declining indicates the relative lack of alternatives and the small value fishers place on their own time (Añonuevo 1989; Trinidad et al. 1993). If properly implemented, reserving the use of municipal waters by municipal ordinances that are enforced serves as a strategy for restricting access, reducing fishing pressure, and improving the condition of municipal fisheries for more fishers for a longer time. Local management regimes that clarify and limit user rights will improve sustainability of fisheries.

An increasingly common situation is the displacement of fishing communities for land reclamation projects. These projects are removing large areas of coastal habitat, such as seagrass beds and mangrove forests, thus permanently eliminating nursery grounds for municipal fisheries without mitigation measures.

Population growth and poverty
Rapid population growth in coastal areas exacerbates resource use conflicts in many ways. The coastal areas are under increasing pressure from a high population growth rate of 2.4 percent per year and the consequent concentration of development activities in the coastal strip.

More than 60 percent of the Philippine population lives within what are considered coastal areas because all major cities and most large industries are located close to the sea. In addition, the most productive natural ecosystems in the country occur on the coast and attract and support many people. Coastal municipalities and cities are facing increasing environmental degradation from pollution, reclamation and conversion of fragile habitats, and overuse of natural resources.

The most significant challenge is to limit population growth so that gains from development and environmental management are not eroded or reversed by the increasing pressure of too many people. The present experience is that as the population density increases, the quality of life and the environment declines for the average person living in a coastal area.

Illegal activities
The destruction of coastal habitats and decline of fisheries are due to a large extent to the proliferation of illegal activities. While national policies and laws exist prohibiting a wide range of activities in coastal areas, illegal activities abound. These include:

1. Use of destructive and illegal fishing methods such as blast fishing, poisons, superlights, muro-ami, and others;
2. Intrusion of commercial fishing into municipal waters;
3. Lack of observance of shoreline setback regulations resulting in damaging construction activities and development in the coastal zone;
4. Conversion of mangrove and seagrass habitats to land or other uses resulting in decline of nearshore catch;
5. Harvesting of banned species including corals, whale sharks, manta rays, giant clams, and endangered marine species; and
6. Habitat destruction from other causes.

Respect for and obeyance of the law needs to be promoted and become accepted as an important means to improve the status and productivity of coastal ecosystems. Fisheries will improve significantly if illegal fishing is stopped! Public education and better enforcement are two strategies that have proven to be effective. Without swift, painful, and public enforcement of laws, the destruction will continue.

Although it is not common knowledge, the foreshore areas from mean high tide to 40 m inland are protected by law and reserved as open access space where no building or private ownership is allowed. This law is not being enforced, but it should be in the near future to prevent overcrowding and environmental degradation in foreshore areas. In fact, private control over beach and foreshore areas has increased to the point that oceanfront and beach access is limited within or near most urban centers. It is ironic that there are virtually no public beaches in Cebu City, the city known for its beaches! Other impacts of development activities on the coastal zone are shown in Table 1.

There are numerous types of pollution common in Philippine coastal waters, but a few sources are pervasive and are causing increasing harm to coastal ecosystems and fisheries production. These include:

1. Domestic sewage from coastal cities, municipalities, and ships, most of which is dumped directly and untreated into the sea;
2. Domestic solid waste from cities, municipalities, and ships, most of which is dumped into rivers, canals, shoreline areas, and then moves to the sea;
3. Mine tailings and sediments from quarrying and mining in coastal and upland areas, much of which flows to the sea through streams and rivers;
4. Industrial organic and toxic waste which, although often treated or restricted, is frequently dumped into rivers and the sea;
5. Agricultural chemicals that pollute nearby rivers, streams, and groundwater, some of which end up in coastal waters; and
6. Oil and fuel leaks and spills from ships.

The overall impact of pollution on coastal areas and marine waters and ecosystems is degradation of the ecosystem, lower environmental quality, and most significantly, lower natural production. Pollution prevention, treatment, and disposal measures must be implemented to maintain the life support system provided by coastal ecosystems. The public must be educated to the fact that dilution is not the solution to pollution.

Food security
The Philippines is facing the beginning of a crisis in the security of food from aquatic resources. Overfishing, coastal habitat destruction, and illegal fishing are primary contributors to the decrease in the available food-dependent fisheries (Courtney et al. 1999). The goal of coastal management is to manage all of our coastal resources in a sustainable manner while allowing the greatest benefit to accrue to the largest number of people for the longest possible time.

Key issues affecting food security include:

1. Continued increases in commercial and municipal fishing effort resulting from population growth and migration to coastal areas;
2. Slow economic development in coastal areas providing few alternatives to municipal fishers;
3. Use of habitat and fishery-destructive fishing practices;
4. Illegal commercial fishing in municipal waters;
5. Open access to fishery resources;
6. Unsustainable economic development;
7. Degradation of coastal habitats; and
8. Weak implementation of coastal management programs at local and national levels.

Fisheries of all kinds in the Philippines are near or have surpassed sustainable levels of catch (Israel and Banzon 1996). Most studies show that important fisheries are overfished and that the real return in terms of volume of catch and economic value is declining (Pauly and Chua 1988; Pauly 1990; Russ 1996). In some cases where volume has increased, the catch composition has changed to a lower value of catch because of changes in the ecological composition of the fishery. A particular issue is the continuous voluminous fishing of juveniles and spawners of commercial value species that is threatening some important species. The causes are complex, but the result is that fishing effort is greater than the resource can support and many habitats are degraded. The impact from this overfishing is initially subtle, but the end result is fewer fish and lower reproductive capacity of remaining fish.

Philippine fisheries production in 1996 totaled 2.8 million t. This production is divided almost equally between the municipal, commercial and aquaculture sectors. Aquaculture production has almost doubled in the last ten years. In contrast, the municipal sector shows a steady downward trend. Its contribution to total production decreased from 57 percent in the early 1970s to just 30 percent in 1996. In general, production growth has been minimal over the last 5 years, averaging 1.5 percent per year.

There are clear signs that Philippine open-water fisheries have reached their practical limits and, as noted, municipal fisheries are declining (Pauly 1990). One primary reason why these nearshore and small-scale fisheries are declining is that they are habitat dependent. And, as shown above, the viable and healthy coral reef and mangrove ecosystem areas have decreased significantly over this century (McManus et al. 1992). The result is a decrease in fish catch and a drastic decrease in catch per unit effort.

As the primary mandate for managing municipal waters lies with the local government, municipalities, cities, and provinces must serve as action centers for results. LGUs and their coastal communities must serve as stewards of coastal resources to sustain food production and economic benefits. Local governments are in a strong position to implement a variety of coastal management “best practices” to improve the benefits derived to local communities from their coastal areas. NGAs have a major role in supporting local governments to fulfill their mandate in managing coastal resources.

Biodiversity conservation
With 430 species of corals, more than 2,000 species of fishes, 14 species of seagrasses, hundreds of seaweed species, and literally thousands of species of different types of marine invertebrates, the Philippines parallels Indonesia in terms of having the richest tropical marine biodiversity in the world. This wealth of biodiversity is one of the factors masking the serious impacts of overfishing. For instance, in temperate marine ecosystems where diversity is relatively lower, the loss of one species anywhere in the food chain can result in the collapse of the whole system. In tropical marine ecosystems with diverse and complex food webs, the loss of one species may go initially unnoticed by humans; however, with the loss of many species and essential habitat, eventually the integrity of the ecosystem will decline and ultimately collapse.

A few signs of major ecosystem changes reflected in Philippine fisheries are that (Johannes and Riepen 1995; Barber and Pratt 1997):

1. Squid and cuttlefish abundance has increased as a result of reduced predation and changes in the ecosystem and composition of the fish species present;
2. Trevallies and sting rays have become very scarce due to overfishing so that reproduction is failing and new recruits are less abundant;
3. Groupers and snappers are much less abundant than 20 years ago due to overfishing that eliminates adult spawning fish;
4. Low-value or “trash” fish make up a larger portion of the fish catch because of ecosystem changes;
5. Top predators (sharks, barracuda, tuna) are almost extinct in many areas;
6. Ornamental and precious shells are missing from shallow water habitats;
7. Local extinction of dugongs, sea turtles, whale sharks, and other large marine animals as a result of overexploitation, by-catch, and habitat destruction; and
8. Local extinction of ornamental corals, shells, sea horses, aquarium fish, and live food fish in response to unsustainable international trade demands.

Key biodiversity issues include:

1. Use of cyanide to collect aquarium fish and live food fish has proliferated destroying habitats in addition to overfishing of valuable species (Barber and Pratt 1997);
2. Poor management of all critical habitats that support much of the marine biodiversity in shallow waters; and
3. Overfishing and over-collection of all valuable nearshore organisms resulting in ecosystem changes and lowered biodiversity.

Overfishing, habitat loss, and international trade in coral reef-generated products have led to the destruction and local extinction of the organisms being collected, and often their habitat. Without improved coastal management, the Philippines risks the loss of significant numbers of marine species and habitats and the integrity of the coastal ecosystem to serve as a life support system.

People must decide that they want dugong and other endangered species to survive, and people must make changes in behavior to allow this to happen!

Policy and institutional gaps and conflicts
The Philippines is endowed with many worthwhile laws related to coastal resource management (CRM). If laws that govern coastal and marine areas, their resources, and the environmental impacts of development were effectively enforced, there would be little need for concern.

Unfortunately, the existing laws are not effective in achieving their intended ends without political will, enforcement, and better institutional linkages and coordination to implement them. And, even if institutional responsibilities and support could be improved, the state of the coasts would not improve much without planning and management that considers all the idiosyncrasies of the local coastal areas and their human communities.

Coastal management in the Philippines must be seen as a basic service of local government with support from national government and assisting organizations. The planning and management process needs to begin with LGUs because this is where the primary mandate lies for resource management. Of course, this cannot be accomplished without much support from different sources and without some basic issues being addressed.

Key intergovernmental and intersectoral issues affecting the Philippine coastal and marine environment include:

1. Conflicting local policies and laws supporting coastal management between neighboring LGUs;
2. Conflicts between national government programs in infrastructure and local government initiatives in coastal management;
3. Discrepancies in the interpretation of jurisdictions among all agencies concerned with
coastal management at national and local levels;
Inadequate resources for coastal management by LGUs;
4. Political or land conflicts between neighboring LGUs; and
5. Lack of mechanisms and support for community participation.

Other considerations to improve the institutional and legal inadequacies are:

1. At the national level, the two key agencies, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), have most of the jurisdictional authority over the coastal environment and its resources. The agencies' mandates often overlap, jurisdictions are not always clear, and in a realm where integrated planning is the key to success, the agencies do not always work together effectively and do not manifest an integrated approach to coastal management. The fact that the management of fisheries (under DA-BFAR) is distinct from the management of habitat (DENR) provides a basic case in point. Fisheries and their habitats cannot be managed as separate entities.

2. Significant gaps in authority and management of resources separate national agencies and local government authorities. In the Philippines, most environmental and fishery laws, including Presidential Decrees, are administered by either the DENR or DA-BFAR. Yet the responsibility to implement the laws for the majority of activities that influence the terrestrial and coastal marine zones out to 15 km offshore is under the LGUs of cities and municipalities. Most LGUs do not have the capacity, expertise or budget to implement the laws under their jurisdiction. The two primary weaknesses in this system are:

a. Insufficient technical assistance by national agencies to the LGUs to assist them in understanding the needs of management and what is intended with the existing laws; and
b. Inadequate budgetary support to LGUs to help them afford the cost of law enforcement through marine patrols, monitoring environmental impacts, and conducting simple legal procedures to assess and collect fines, imprison offenders, and other related activities.

Environmental problems do not respect jurisdictional boundaries. Ocean currents carry sediments, toxic wastes, and pollutants from one area to another. Yet, legal and institutional systems must have boundaries to provide delineation of jurisdiction and areas of responsibility for effective implementation. The political boundaries of greatest importance in managing coastal resources in the Philippines are those of the LGUs. The implication is that variation in the ability or willingness of one LGU to implement management plans may affect neighboring jurisdictions. The inability or unwillingness of LGUs to engage in cooperative, multi-jurisdictional management is a significant drawback to effective coastal resource development and management. Without a means to manage special areas that include more than one LGU such as bays, gulfs, or straits with particular resources or problems, effective coastal management will be elusive (Arquiza and White 1999).

Finally, the default policy of open-access fisheries and resource use regimes is now changing to support better coastal resource management. This is a prerequisite to stopping the “tragedy of the commons” occurring throughout coastal areas. The devolution of jurisdiction to local governments is the first important step in reducing open access of coastal resources. The Fisheries Code of 1998 is a second important step, because the code encourages a variety of mechanisms that limit access and promote sustainable use. The application of resource rents, license and entry fees, zoning, marine sanctuaries, access and use plans, among others, will all be important to improve management.

An integrated coastal management approach is needed to address these issues and solve the complex problems facing coastal areas in a systematic and participatory manner. The promotion of coastal resource management as a basic service of government will help to ensure that coastal management is adopted throughout the country.

Integration across academic disciplines and sectors is needed to identify issues and research and develop management measures. Spatial and temporal integration must be pursued to address the interconnectedness of ecosystems and long time scales often required to meet management objectives. An integrative policy framework is essential to address conflicting legal and institutional mandates, plans, and programs. This integration of activities and plans is now seen as a sustaining factor in successful coastal management programs and can best be expressed in an ICM plan or program.

In the Philippines, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Asia, changing coastal demographics, increased poverty and unsustainable resource use patterns have led resource managers to put greater emphasis on community-level coastal management with an increasing emphasis on integration of government and community. “The essential elements of this management process are simultaneous integration and coordination on multiple levels, which can incorporate national and local government working together with community groups in an iterative assessment, planning, and implementation process.... Interdisciplinary teams of researchers and policy experts are involved in the process. Ideally, the community is involved with the research and planning process from the onset, but at least it is consulted with assessment of results and management options” (Christie and White 1997).

Collaborative management or co-management, another way to describe the ICM process, offers:

…a more dynamic partnership…using the capacities and interests of the local fishers and community, complemented by the ability of the state to provide enabling legislation, enforcement, and other assistance, specifically co-management. Co-management aims to achieve joint responsibility and authority for resource management through cooperation between government and local resource users” (Pomeroy 1995).

Collaborative management is the mode in which ICM or CRM planning generally occurs in the Philippines. The planning and implementation activities should always involve the participation of government, non-governmental, and stakeholder groups.

The problems facing coastal areas and resources necessitate the use of integrated management approaches (White 1996; Christie and White 1997). Single issue or sector interventions cannot solve complex coastal management issues and their contributing causes (White et al. 1997). Integrated coastal management, incorporating the tenets of multisectoral collaboration (co-management) and community participation (community-based coastal resource management) is the only effective approach. This ICM approach is necessarily flexible and adaptable to the situation and set of issues to be addressed.

Building on experience and lessons learned
Coastal management initiatives in the Philippines have developed in response to a variety of issues and factors over the last 20 years. In recent years, several major forces have influenced the development of the Philippine coastal management experience. The first is a variety of community-based projects that have resulted in successful examples showing how communities can manage their coastal resources. These community-based efforts in the 1980s were almost always initiated by NGOs or academic groups usually with some external support. Important examples include island-community marine sanctuaries initiated by Silliman University in the Visayas and the Haribon Foundation in Luzon. The Philippine government through the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD) hosted a number of small CRM projects in the 1980s that focused on community involvement in aquaculture and monitoring and management of fisheries.

A second major influence has been a series of donor-assisted projects that have resulted in a number of pilot projects in ICM and built on lessons from the small community-based models developed earlier. These donor projects resulted from the interest and openness of Philippine government agencies and NGOs alike. Such projects have ranged in size from narrow to wide geographic boundaries and from low levels of financial support to multi-million dollar assistance over 5 or more years. A thrust in all such programs has been the participation of local communities and governments in a hands-on manner intended to build constituencies for coastal management from the bottom up. Although NGAs have been involved in all large coastal management projects, national policies on ICM are still weak, and no one agency in the country has a significant and clear mandate for coordinating the management of coastal resources. The mandate for coastal management is shared, not well defined, and sometimes under dispute.

A key lesson learned from the various coastal management projects is that it is impossible to plan and implement ICM programs without a multisectoral approach. Successful programs must have sufficient support from the national and local governments and non-governmental partners and a strong level of acceptance among the resource-dependent communities. A few key lessons and emerging directions in the Philippines are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Lessons learned and emerging directions in ICM in the Philippines (Courtney and White 2000)

1. Baseline information is a pre-requisite to plan for ICM and to do comparative analyses of "with" and "without" project scenarios.

2. ICM plans that build on good information (environmental profiles) that evolves with the planning process are a pre-requisite.

3. Quality technical expertise is a key determinant of success.

4. Participation at all levels is a pre-requisite to the effective implementation of ICM plans.

5. The sustainability of ICM interventions cannot be determined without sufficient time for field testing.

6. An integrated planning process is essential to bring together the divergent efforts of various government, non-government, and other organizations involved in management.

7. Real and practical results at the field level, such as improved income from fish catch, other resource use or alternatives such as tourism, are a critical sustaining force at the community level.

8. Even community-based management that appears relatively successful and autonomous requires continuing support and mentoring from government, NGOs and the private sector.

9. Political will will always be required to start and sustain successful ICM programs.

Another major influence affecting the evolution of coastal management in the Philippines is the devolution of authority from central to local governments (provincial, city, and municipality). Coastal areas and resources in the Philippines were once maintained by the fact that there was a limited demand for the essential resources of space and economically valuable fish and other items. In the 1950s, demand for these resources surpassed supply. The open access regime of the past is now changing as the jurisdiction of coastal management is devolved to local governments as a basic service. This devolution of authority effectively sets up collaborative management regimes in which government and communities work together to manage resources.

The challenge created by the decentralization of coastal management responsibility is that few coastal cities and municipalities have the capacity to manage their natural resources. They generally lack trained personnel, budget, and capacity in planning and technical knowledge in coastal management. In spite of these limitations, the motivation among LGUs to manage their resources is increasing rapidly as they recognize the seriousness of the problem and what they stand to lose if no action is taken (White and Cruz-Trinidad 1998). Again, NGOs and academe have and are playing key roles to assist local and national government to take on the task of coastal management. In most of the donor-assisted projects noted above, NGOs performed many of the field facilitation tasks since LGUs are usually not equipped in this role.

The widespread decline of coastal resources in the Philippines is, without a doubt, a fundamental and urgent issue that needs to be addressed through active involvement from all sectors of society. The uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources has served as the primary starting point for the degraded condition of coastal resources experienced today. Fisheries and other coastal resources have been taken from the sea with few limitations and at very little cost, essentially free to the resource user. Exploitation of forest and mineral resources have left upland areas deforested and exposed which has resulted in coastal habitat destruction and fish kills from land-based runoff and other pollutants. Agro-industrial development has intensified, leaving in its wake marine pollution and destruction of critical coastal habitats. All these activities, against a backdrop of rapid population growth and migration to coastal areas and global climate change, have rendered the Philippine coastal environment increasingly degraded, decreasingly productive, and coastal communities among the poorest of the poor.

Regular and appropriate investments in coastal management are required to sustain national and local benefits derived from coastal resources. Fortunately, increasing awareness of the serious degradation of coastal and marine resources worldwide is shifting the focus of government and other programs toward coastal management and away from fisheries development. Furthermore, with the recognition that effective management develops from a participatory process involving coastal stakeholders and day-to-day resource users, many countries, including the Philippines, have devolved the responsibility of managing coastal resources to the lowest level of government. Here lie the challenges and opportunities to transform these and other new paradigms in coastal management to the successful recovery of Philippine seas. Changes in the overall orientation of coastal management in the Philippines are described in Table 3.

Table 3. New paradigms for coastal management in the Philippines (Courtney and White 2000)

1. Shift in emphasis to coastal protection and management from fisheries development, exportation, and optimum production;

2. Devolution of responsibility and mandate for managing municipal waters to local government;

3. Redefining roles of NGAs toward assisting local government with coastal management;

4 . Establishing multisectoral and inter-LGU agreements to solve complex problems associated
with coastal management;

5. Broadening the base of local and national support to sustain community-based CRM (Christie et al. 1994; White et al. 1994); and

6. Mainstreaming coastal management on the national agenda.

Proven approaches and policies for coastal management
The Philippines is in the process of defining what policies are basic to successful ICM. These are being tested at the field level all around the country and are being compared to national law and institutional structures in an effort to improve the connections between local implementation and national policy. Several key ingredients in the national policy framework that reflect local realities in the Philippines are:

Participation in management decisions is essential at all levels. The Philippines has a tradition of democracy that encourages community-level participation and responsibility. This builds on the bottom-up model of encouraging barangay-level groups to form management associations and become the effective managers of their coastal resources. This local level of decision making is supported through the Local Government Code and the Fisheries Code, which both give significant jurisdiction to local governments in the resource management process.

National agencies with jurisdiction over coastal resources need to assist LGUs and provide technical support. The capacity of local governments to manage their coastal environments and resources is limited. They need technical guidance, personnel, budget, and mentoring to achieve ICM practices. This can be facilitated by national agencies such as DA-BFAR, DENR, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Tourism (DOT) with jurisdiction and concern for coastal environments and resources. The difference now, as compared to the past, is that the direct management responsibility and implementing authority lies primarily with the local governments.

Collaboration and synergy among agencies is essential. The very term “integrated” strongly suggests that all institutions with a mandate and concern for management of coastal resources must collaborate. This collaboration will include government and nongovernment organizations and international projects and donors. The planning unit and the boundaries of collaboration will most often be determined by ecological criteria and natural divisions. Bays with defined ocean parameters, resources, and issues do not respect political boundaries. Rather, they must be planned for and managed as a bay unit. This may include several municipalities and one or more provinces in some cases.

Multiple education and communication strategies are required to build a wide base of support for ICM. People must begin to understand the issues before they will take action to solve them. This can be achieved through education and media campaigns. ICM can be promoted through networks of constituency groups to support initiatives, thus ensuring better sustainability of efforts.

Proven technical interventions must be pursued and applied appropriately. Much experience has been gained through a variety of coastal management projects that have tested coastal management interventions. The viable interventions must be pursued, such as integrated planning, habitat protection and management, improved law enforcement, environmentally sensitive livelihood options, community organization and education, and others (Christie and White 1997).

Local government plays a pivotal role as the last safety net for the recovery of coastal and marine resources in the Philippines. In the Philippine context, coastal management processes and management measures are collectively viewed as the delivery of basic services by local governments — municipal, city, and provincial. These basic services cannot be delivered without cooperation between local governments and, at the same time, without the support of NGAs, NGOs, coastal communities, academe, private, and other sectors.

National legal and policy framework for coastal management
The primary mandate for coastal management has been largely devolved to local government under Local Government Code and more recently defined in the Fisheries Code. Coastal management may be viewed as one of the inherent functions of LGUs in accordance with their general powers for management within their territorial jurisdictions which include municipal waters out to a distance of 15 km from the coastline (Table 4).

Table 4. Granting of jurisdiction over municipal waters as defined in the Fisheries Code

Section 16, Article I
. Jurisdiction of Municipal/City Governments. The municipality/city government shall have jurisdiction over municipal waters as defined in this Code (…marine waters included between two lines drawn perpendicular to the general coastline from points where the
boundary lines of the municipality touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel with the general coastline including offshore islands and fifteen kilometers from such coastline). The municipal/city government, in consultation with the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC) shall be responsible for the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization, and disposition of all fish and fishery/aquatic resources within their respective municipal waters.

Section 76, Article II . The integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils shall be created in bays, gulfs, … [bounded by two or more municipalities/cities to assist in the preparation of plans, fishery ordinances, enforcement of fishery laws, provide advice on fishery matters and
perform other functions as required.]

Coastal management as a basic service of local government incorporates all the local government powers and responsibilities including planning, protection, legislation, regulation, revenue generation, enforcement, intergovernmental relations, relations with people’s and nongovernment organizations, and extension and technical assistance.

The municipal or city government has an important facilitating role in the coastal management process because of their legal mandate to manage resources within municipal waters. National agencies, DENR and BFAR primarily, have key supporting roles in the coastal management process together with LGUs, including provinces. NGOs, both national and local, are often involved in the community-level implementation process through either contracting arrangements under government agencies or through their own projects funded externally.

The issues are all clustered around human behaviors that collectively are destroying our coastal environments and resources. The solutions involve much improved planning of how we use our coastal resources and how we manage our behavior as a society. A key ingredient in succeeding to protect and manage our coastal areas and the people that reside there is for people to participate in the process and to take responsibility for their actions. The LGU is the logical political unit to encourage this to happen because the Philippine coastline is too long for any one national agency to have effective control. Supporting CRM as a basic service of city, municipal, and provincial governments, and all this entails, is crucial to meeting the challenge of sustaining our coasts and seas.


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