Strengthening a Marine Sanctuary to Revitalize a Fisherfolk Community

Year: 2017
Country: Philippines
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Environment
Project Investment: $4,370.32

Project Launch: 1-5-18

Bancal Bay once boasted to be the most productive fishing ground in the Visayan Sea. However, after decades of overfishing, the once abundant fish catches have decreased at alarming levels. Concerned by this, the community has become driven to revitalize the bay through the strengthening of its marine sanctuary. This sanctuary prohibits all fishing activities within its boundaries and is designed to allow fish populations the opportunity to recover. To increase the success of the sanctuary, the Bancal Bay Resource Management and Development Alliance (BARMDA) is spearheading a project that will utilize two crucial strategies.

The first is significantly increasing the sanctuary’s protection level by constructing a standing guardhouse and retraining the enforcers of the sanctuary. Fishing inside the sanctuary is regularly reported, but a guardhouse would provide a centralized base for enforcers to closely monitor the sanctuary’s boundaries. The retraining would increase the enforcers’ knowledge of local ordinances and their capabilities to apprehend illegal fishermen. The second strategy is to conduct marine sanctuary orientations for the officers of the fisherfolk associations from the ten communities that boarder Bancal Bay. These trainings will be designed to increase the current understanding of sanctuary benefits and how community support is critical for its success. The orientations aim to create internal changes within each community by training participants to be advocates for the sanctuary and how to increase their community’s support.

By completing this project, BARMDA aspires to restore Bancal Bay to its previous prosperity and to ensure livelihoods for future generations.

Project Update: 7-16-18

Construction materials for the guardhouse have been purchased. 85 participants have attended a day-long orientation. Bantay Dagat has apprehended 90 illegal fishermen and reported a decline in illegal fishing activities with their increased efforts. The Bantay Dagat members are highly dedicated and are very excited for the completion of the standing guardhouse to solidify their presence in Bancal Bay and become a permanent guard of the sanctuary.  

Final Report: 10-8-18

This project was designed to achieve ecological and economic sustainability through the implementation of two strategies: Strengthen enforcement of the Bancal Bay Bantay Dagat and increase community awareness and support of the sanctuary. The entirety of this project has been in concept for over two years and has now been fully realized, and despite several setbacks, has exceeded its initial goals. To strengthen the enforcement of the Bancal Bay Marine Sanctuary, team leaders from the Bantay Dagat underwent a retraining to standardize operation and apprehension procedures. The team leaders have now disseminated the information and practices from this training to the other Bantay Dagat members in their communities. By standardizing procedures, the Bantay Dagat of Bancal Bay has become a unified unit, which has increased its effectiveness as a team. Apprehensions now follow a standardized procedure which increases the safety of the Bantay Dagat as well as presents an organized and capable front to illegal fishers. The standing guardhouse has also strengthened the Bantay Dagat by providing a centralized base and is a permanent presence in the bay to monitor the sanctuary. The addition of a second patrol boat has also doubled the efforts of the Bantay Dagat since it has allowed them to better pursue and apprehend illegal fishers by enabling the Bantay Dagat to head-off resisting illegal fisherfolk, instead of having to ram fleeing boats.

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