PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN FUND
Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc.

     
    PROJECT TITLE
    Reducing Threats and Improving Sustainable Management of Biodiversity in Tayabas and Pagbilao Bay
     
    GOAL
    To strengthen capacities of local conservation actors in environmental law enforcement and protection of coastal zone and municipal waters
     
    LOCATION
    287,300 hectares along Tayabas and Pagbilao Bay in Quezon Province
     
    BENEFICIARIES
    Municipal, city and barangay officials; youth and fisherfolk
     
    IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD
    July 2016 to March 2018
     

    BACKGROUND
    Pagbilao and Tayabas are important fishing grounds in Southern Luzon that cover approximately 287,332 hectares. The two (2) bays are fed by 2 important watershed and protected areas and a biodiversity-rich mangrove forest in Pagbilao. The bays provide natural breeding grounds for a wide variety of fish, shellfish and other aquatic organisms of economic value. Studies indicated that marine species in the Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor are nursed along Pagbilao Bay because of the abundant supply of plankton in the latter. The bays and the surrounding mangrove forest are endangered by illegal human activities like dynamite and cyanide fishing, wildlife hunting and timber poaching.

    Due to weak law enforcement, commercial fishing vessels also encroach into areas of municipal waters which affects the regenerative capacity of the fish population. Resource and social assessments conducted in 2005 reveal that hard coral cover is down to about 32 percent because of continued siltation, destructive fishing practices and storm waves. Fish population was reduced to 11.44 mt/sq.km. biomass and a dramatic decline in fish catch rate was observed due to the increase in the use of illegal fishing gear.

    ACTIVITIES
    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc. (TKI) in eliminating illegal fishing in the Tayabas and Pagbilao bays by strengthening capacities of stakeholders in environmental law enforcement for the protection of coastal zones and municipal waters. TKI mobilizes communities as social fences to protect their marine resources and habitats. Local conservation actors are also being trained in environmental law enforcement and governance for a strict implementation of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1988.

    UPDATES AS OF MARCH 2017
    The results of the focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted last quarter to gather data for the violations assessment were consolidated together with the results of the interviews and field observations.  The results were also presented during the Multi-Stakeholders Conference on Mar. 31, 2017.  In Lucena City, three community generated maps were forwarded to the City Agriculture Office and another map was forwarded to the Bantay Dagat to be used for validation, surveillance, and further data gathering.  In Pagbilao, two community-generated maps were presented to the technical working group (TWG) for validation and additional information.

    The violations that were reported to the LGU last quarter as a result of the conduct of violations assessment are still being investigated. These include the reported dumping of burned solid wastes from an international cargo ship docked at Pagbilao, Quezon that is being investigated by the Philippines Coast Guard. The project also received reports of the release of waste waters from a big resort in Sariaya, Quezon which is now subject to data gathering.

    Two case folders were updated by the project staff from the case files gathered last quarter. The updated files were facilitated through meetings with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Bantay Dagat, Philippine Coast Guard, Media, and the Local Government Units of Lucena, Pagbilao, and Sariaya. The cases are still active and are being monitored by Bantay Dagat, Philippine National Police (PNP)-Maritime and LGU Lucena City.

    The results of the Management Effectiveness Assessment Tool (MEAT) Survey conducted last quarter were submitted to the Municipal Agriculture Offices of Pagbilao, Sariaya, and Lucena City. The same results were presented during the TWG meeting and during the Multi-Stakeholders Conference in March 2017. For Pagbilao, the LGU established a TWG which initially developed a management plan for the existing and proposed fish sanctuaries in Pagbilao. For Lucena City, the Sangguniang Bayan passed a resolution urging the office of the City Mayor and the City Agriculturist to form a TWG for the review of their fish sanctuary ordinance and develop its management plans.  

    A total of 662 sea turtle eggs were gathered from November 2016 to March 2017. Out of these, 423 sea turtle eggs hatched and were released in the coastal areas of Sariaya, Quezon from January 12 to 30, while 80 sea turtle hatchlings were released in Brgy. San Roque, Sariaya on Mar. 7, 2017.