Sustainable Development Success Stories

Participatory Protected Reef Monitoring and Evaluation

Location  Eastern Samar, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Pangasinan. The Philippines.
Responsible Organisation

University of the Philippines' (UP) Marine Science Institute, Guiuan Development Foundation, Volunteer Service Overseas, Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, UP in the Visayas, Tacloban College, UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies, Coral Reef Information Network of the Philippines.

Partners: Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Negros Oriental Environment and Natural Resources Management Division, DENR/US-AID Coastal Resources Management Project, Lomboy Farmers, Fishers and Carpenters Association (Calape in Bohol), Cabacongan Small Fisherfolk Association (Loon in Bohol), Camanga Fisherfolk Associaation (Salcedo in Eastern Samar), Salcedo Coastal Zone Management Council (Salcedo) in Eastern Samar), Kaisake (Bolinao in Pangasinan), St. Joseph’s Fishermen’s Association (Cangmating, Sibulan in Negros Oriental).

Funding Sources: University of the Philippines, Centre for Integrative and Development Studies; Global Environment Facility - Small Grants Programme (Philippines); DENR/US-AID Coastal Resources Management Project..


In 1996, the Guiuan Development Foundation in Eastern Samar and the Volunteer Service Overseas together with the Bohol Integrated Development Foundation introduced participatory coastal underwater assessment and monitoring in 7 municipalities in Eastern Samar and 3 municipalities in Bohol. At about the same time, the UP Marine Science Institute initiated a twin programme, exploring the effectiveness of marine reserves to recover the reef trophic function, disrupted by overfishing. The programme aimed at:
· institutionalizing an information network (PhilReefs) to improve cooperation between and among coastal managers and reef scientists, locally and nationwide; and
· evaluating the effectiveness of reef management by linking coastal management (social, economic and political) to the biophysical conditions.

UP Marine Science Institute started looking for sites and for interested local partners through the PhilReefs network newsletter.

In 1997, the UP Marine Science Institute:

· Refined the technical bases of the Samar and Bohol methods.

· Formalized a 3-year participatory protected reef monitoring system, evaluation and on-the-job training.

· Expanded pilot sites to the municipalities of Bolinao (Panasinan) and Sibulan (Negros Oriental) under the auspices of the UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programme and the DENR/US-AID CRM Project respectively.

The three original objectives (training, fish sanctuary evaluation and networking) became the sub-components of the adaptive management of the marine protected area.

Various reef-monitoring methods (GCRMN, ReefCheck, etc.) were reviewed simplified and field-tested, leaving mainly manta tow surveying, snorkelling fish visual census and fish catch monitoring. These methods were applied by the scientific team in parallel with the community teams for a comparison between scuba and snorkelling and for standardisation across sites.

The data gathered by fish visual census was found more successful. Initial data summarisation and graphing exercises (using actual data) after 2-years of joint monitoring reveal similar trends (though values differed) between scientist-collected and community-collected data.

Issues Addressed Oceans and seas, consumption and production patterns, capacity building.
Results Achieved

· In the village of Lomboy (province of Bohol), local fishers felt that the catch of nearby fish corrals was increasing even though catch (in the area near the sanctuary) remained low for all other fishing gear types. Documentation and confirmation of this through participatory monitoring encouraged them to lobby the municipal government to remove adjacent fish corrals. The corrals were just recently removed.

· Villagers of Cabacongan (province of Bohol) formed a Bantay Dagat ("Sea Watch") group to apprehend commercial fishing boats (prohibited within 15 km of the shore) and have been able to ward off or catch many violators since.

· In the village of Camanga (province of Eastern Samar), more frequent field activities for the monitoring per se have led to more active protection of the sanctuary even when the development workers are not around. It is reported that the fish corrals in the immediate area have become profitable again. The municipal government has also allocated a monthly budget for the fishers' monitoring and surveillance activities. The community recently won the Best Managed Marine Reserve award.

· Slow, or lack of, improvement of monitoring sites in Cangmating (province of Negros Oriental) and Bolinao (province of Pangasinan) exposed weaknesses respectively in the local development organisation and grassroots organisation (which are now being addressed).

Lessons Learned

· Empowering the local communities to monitor the resources that they use consolidates both management and its evaluation into one group. This results in a more responsive management to local changes.

· Snorkelling subsistence fishermen contribute to reef monitoring surveillance and can potentially lead to greater compliance with laws. Snorkelling is also educational: "seeing for oneself" is very effective in changing attitudes and catalysing action.

· Monitoring by scientists (more objective, less frequent, more comparable to other sites) and monitoring by fishing communities (captures anecdotal events, more frequent, less standardised) are complementary. Participatory monitoring facilitates combining indigenous with scientific knowledge.

· Participatory monitoring results in greater openness to technical inputs and quicker management response, making more efficient use of resources and being potentially more sustainable.

· Monitoring design should be able to discriminate natural from human (positive or negative) causes, i.e. setting up controls methods that should be powerful enough to detect real changes of significance to the local area, otherwise, interest may be lost and local management will not find the activity useful (positive changes can encourage sustaining management while negative changes can be used to spur on improvements in management).


Andre Jon Uychiaoco,
UP Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Tel. (63-2) 9223921, Fax (63-2) 9247678
E-mail: andreu@msi01.cs.upd.edu.ph

Margarita dela Cruz,
Guiuan Development Foundation, Inc.,
117 P. Zamora, St., Tacloban,
Leyte 6500, Philippines
Tel. (63 -53) 3256592, Fax (63 -53) 3255108

Stuart J. Green,
c/o Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, Inc.,
39 Hontanosas St., Tagbilaran City,
Bohol 6300, Philippines;
Tel. (63-38) 4112871, Fax (63-38) 4114455,
E-mail: bosicadd@mozcom.com