Catmon Marine Protected Area Network
Project Launch: 12-20-16
The Catmon Marine Protected Area Network is part of a comprehensive effort to regenerate the coastal environment of Catmon, Philippines. Problems identified by municipal residents were low fish catch, sand harvesting/mining and most important a lack of equitable access for fisherman and community residents. Issues identified have been persistent for years and have greatly impacted the lives of Catmon residents. An expansion of the marine protected area would create a total of three marine sanctuaries to improve habitats and provide a refuge for marine species in the hopes to improving fish catch. The marine protected area would also prevent the newly planted mangroves from being cut or destroyed while also protecting threatened sea grass beds and expanding coral reefs. This project seeks to fund establishment of this protected area, supporting activities to maintain and nurture the delicate ecological relationships in the region.
Final Report: 7-6-17
The project culminated in the establishment of San Jose Marine Park, an oceanfront reserve that seeks to promote understanding of the local environment. Fishing and exploitation of trees are not permitted in the park and the community has largely respected these new norms. Recovery efforts have been impressive: Mangroves are growing, coral has expanded, and seagrass recolonization has begun. The new policies have begun to have unforeseen ripple effects: Local fisherman now report instances of illegal fishing to municipal authorities and a local campaign to protect sea turtles has also received attention.