Volunteer in Marine Conservation Philippines

Current Projects

The following projects are projects we have currenlty running or are part of continous efforts by MCP. Only the larger projects are described. Activities like the continous beach cleanups and smaller projects on base that have to do with improving the facilities are not explained.

Restoration and amplification of MPA’ s in Zamboanguita

Before 2011, Zamboanguita had several Marine Protected Area’s (MPA’s). But in 2011 the typhoon Sendong devastated the coral reefs and also destroyed the demarcation of the no-take zones. Subsequently enforcement of the fishing prohibition in these MPA’s stopped. Fishermen for a very short while had abundant catches as they started fishing in these areas again, but those catches rapidly declined. Now both the fisherman and the municipality realise this is not desired and are looking to re-establish these MPA’s.

With all MPA’s we are strongly in favor of a participatory approach to Coastal Resource Management. This means the local stakeholders like the fisherfolk association, barangay and municipality have the ultimate say in the policy and timing aspects of the MPA establishment. Only in this way can the MPA’s be managed in a positive and collaborative manner where government, the community and NGO’s work together.

Because MCP is located in Barangay Lutoban, we are focusing first on aiding the re-establishment and improvement of the MPA in our own back-yard. For the Lutoban Marine Reserve we are providing technical and scientific assistance, and support from our volunteers. We also have budget from a grant to build a guardhouse and buy a small boat (RIB) for monitoring and enforcement by the bantay dagat and support them with other materials. The rest of the budget comes from the municipal CRM budget and the Bottom Up Budgetting from BFAR.

Other Barangays where we are aiding the re-establishment or improvement of MPA’s are Mayabon and Basak, and when the opportunity arises, we also want to support the other Barangays in Zamboanguita and Siaton. For all Barangays we work closely together with provincial government agencies and regional NGO’s.

Current status

During the Integrated Coastal Management workshop of Zamboanguita in 2015, the Lutoban MPA was discussed extenively. For various barangays hand-drawn maps were made to show the possible locations of MPA’s. Subsequently we organised participatory mapping walks in those barangays to create initial technical maps. The resulting maps for the Lutoban and Mayabon barangays were made by us and discussed with stakeholders at the barangay or fisherfolk association level and subsequently adjusted and ratified. For both barangay’s the next step is creating barangay and municipal ordinances making these MPA’s legal, and subsequent creation and implementation of management plans.

For both barangays these mapping exercises were very satisfying with fisherfolk and barangay officials taking an active and supportive role.  In both barangays we were pleasantly surprised that the community actually proposed larger MPA’s than we aimed for because we didn’t want to be over-ambitious.  The Lutoban community proposed to extend the MPA greatly, resulting in a marine reserve of 92ha, with a no-take zone of 34ha and sustainable-use zone of 29ha. Because there is a strong interdependence of coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds1, the MPA also includes adjoining sea grass and mangrove area’s.

  1. Nagelkerken I., van der Velde G., Gorissen M.W., Meijer G.J., T. Hof V’t, C. Hartog den (2000)   Importance of Mangroves, Seagrass Beds and the Shallow Coral Reef as a Nursery for Important Coral Reef Fishes, Using a Visual Census Technique; Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 51(1):31-44.

Mapping Coastal Ecosystems

In order to implement an ecosystem approach to Coastal Resource Management, it is important to know the location and sizes of the different coastal ecosystems in Zamboanguita and neighbouring municipalities. This helps us and local and provincial authorities to better plan and manage MPA’s.

We are interested in identifying the substrate dominated by:

  • Seagrass (important nursery habitat and important nutrient and siltation sink from land-based sources)
  • Macro-algae (indicator of overfishing of herbivore species and nutrient pollution)
  • (Turf) algae (indicator of a coral-algae phase shift, often resulting of multiple combined human impacts on coral reefs)
  • Life coral
  • Mangroves (important nursery habitat and sink for land-based nutrients and siltation)
  • Rubble cover (usually resulting from coral destruction)
  • Sand/silt soil
  • Bare rock

Although various datasources exist with this type of data, like the Philippine national geoportalPhilGIS and theOcean Data Viewer from UNEP-WCMC, the data accuracy for our area is not good enough. We therefore need to expand on this data with data we gather ourselves.

To be able to do this we need to collect data in the field of all different substrate types (ground-truthing data) and relate this data to satellite images from different sources 1,2, corrected with depth data3. We will investigate the use of satellite images from freely available sources like google-earth and Landsat8, but also the use of commercial imagery like the SpotXS and Worldview-2.

At a later stage we would also like to investigate the possibilities of gatherin our own high-resolution imagery, possibly with the use of underwater ROV’s or UAV’s like the Open ROVDrones or Balloons.

Current status

All ground-truthing data has been collected using a continuous moving window method along 300m transects at 5 different depths and on 9 different sites. This data is now being transformed into ground-truthing data and used to attempt the classification of google-earth and Landsat8 imagery. Based on the results subsequent steps will be planned out.

  1. Christensen T., Mumby PJ, Chollett I., Hedley J., Bejarano S., Skirving W, Strong AE (2010)   Directory of Remote Sensing Applications for Coral Reef Management Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Program, St Lucia, Australia ; ISBN: 978-1-921317-08-8
  2. Green E.P, Mumby P.J, Edwards A.J, Clark C.D (1996)   A review of remote sensing for the assessment and management of tropical coastal resources; Coastal Management 24(1):1-40.
  3. Armstrong RA (1993)   Remote sensing of submerged vegetation canopies for biomass estimation; International Journal of Remote Sensing 14(3):621-627.