Romblon Passage Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program
Romblon passage is part of Sulu-sulawesi ecoregion which is considered as the global center of marine biodiversity. It also connects the major fishing grounds of Sulu Sea, Visayan Sea and Verde Island Passage in the Philippines. The narrow channels between the major basins provide important corridors for migratory species including large population of economically important marine species such as yellow fin, skipjack and big-eye tuna. The passage also harbors diverse species of demersal and pelagic fishes, threatened and endangered species such as sea turtles, whale sharks, dolphins, stingray and other commercially important marine resources.
The marine resources in this region however, are under serious stress from social and natural forces including overextraction, use of illegal fishing methods, sedimentation, domestic pollution and coastal development. The absence of organized fisher organizations in some areas, low environmental awareness, lack of knowledge on fishery laws and fishing gear management, and limited support for enforcement further intensifies the social and environmental concerns. Based on the World Bank report in 2005, Romblon Pass is a heavily exploited fishing area with 2-70 fishers/km. This placed the Romblon Pass under the priority marine and coastal conservation area.
SIKAT has been implementing coastal resource management program in this area since 2004 in partnership with the Local Government Units. The program aims to conserve the marine ecosystems and to involve communities in the resource management activities. Program components include: community organizing and popular education, community-based resource management, sustainable livelihood, advocacy and enforcement. Currently, SIKAT in partnership with the local communities are managing 14 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Romblon. Communities claim that there has been at least 2 kilos per fishing operation increase in fish catch since the establishment of MPAs.
The project is supported by the grant from PACKARD Foundation, MISEREOR, IUCN and NEDA Region IV-B. To know more about this project, please email email@example.com.