Strengthen Coral-Rich Marine Protected Areas
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Coral reef health and fisheries management are intimately linked. Healthy reefs support fisheries and poor reef fishery management invariably leads to coral degradation. When properly managed, a square kilometer of tropical reef yields 15 tons of seafood a year – a resource critical to the planet’s estimated 6 million reef fishers and their families. Nearly one million of those fishers reside in the Philippines alone.
The condition of Philippine coral reefs has been in constant and rapid decline. A recent study shows that 90% of our reefs are in poor to fair categories and none in excellent state. The dismal condition of our reefs is further exacerbated by destruction of marine habitats including dump-and-fill projects, destructive fishing practices, pollution, climate change and other anthropogenic pressures.
Strengthening the management and expanding the country’s marine protected areas and strong enforcement of our laws are necessary to effectively protect our coral reefs and provide refuge for coral reef dwellers. These will provide the best chance for their long-term survival and in return, the people benefit from the ecosystem services they provide.
We can carry forward the momentum we generated through our 2018 victory in having a portion of the iconic Philippine Rise protected through a presidential proclamation. Oceana commits to strengthen coral-rich marine protected areas such as in Panaon Island.