Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 56 Issue 1

Fisheries refugia, marine protected areas, and fisheries use zoning: Some of the tools used in managing fisheries in the Philippines

Nygiel B. Armada
doi: 10.6024/jmbai.2014.56.1.01750s-12

The issues tackled by many fisheries management interventions are practically the same, namely, a fisheries that is overcapitalized, increasing fishing effort, a resource base that is degraded due to destructive fishing practices, and resource users who are highly dependent on fisheries and its resource base. In response, fisheries managers have resorted to viable interventions that are deemed acceptable to government, resource users, and stakeholders. 

This paper highlights approaches and practices in the establishment of fisheries refugia in selected sites in the countries surrounding South China Sea, and the establishment of fisheries sanctuaries in the Philippines. It will also touch on the consolidating role of marine spatial planning, particularly of fisheries use zoning, in enhancing fisheries management. These practices are primarily based on experience during the implementation of the UNEP-GEF South China Sea (SCS) Project, USAID’s Fisheries Improved for Sustainable Harvest (FISH) Project in the Philippines, and the various interventions by research institutions, non-government organizations, and fisherfolk organizations. These include establishment of fisheries refugia, marine protected areas and network of marine protected areas. These initiatives were further enhanced by consolidating them with various interventions through marine spatial planning, specifically through zoning of various fisheries and other marine water uses.

Despite numerous successes, there are still key challenges that need to be addressed, namely, choosing the appropriate spatial scale for a given governance scale, ensuring equitable benefits to the target resource users, and addressing excessive fishing effort (the elephant in the room). There are current initiatives being conducted to ’right scale‘ fisheries management interventions, namely, to see to it that governance scale is compatible with the spatial scale of ecosystems being managed. Also, ecosystem modeling is being used as tool to right-size fishing effort to be able to address excessive fishing effort. Right-sizing of fishing effort can also be designed to respond to equity issue.  


Refugia, MPA, zoning, EAFM, right-sizing, rightscaling.

Date : 15-10-2014