Marine Protected Areas

A coral reef scene full of various kinds of fish, coral species, and more. Photo by Erina Molina.

A marine protected area is an area that is overseen by people because it provides food for marine life and communities, and shelter for various species, many of them fish we depend on and corals we love to see.

In more exact terms, an MPA is “an identified portion of land and water set aside by reason of their unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biological diversity and protected against destructive human exploitation” (Pajaro et al. 1999). MPAs are reported to have been successful at increasing fish production, stabilizing coral cover and enhancing community capacity to manage their own resources.

Because of this, marine protected areas are considered as an important conservation strategy in improving fish stocks in coastal and marine areas. From 1994 to 2008, the number of MPAs in the Philippines has increased from 400 to 1,169. These MPAs have been monitored by community-based organizations, NGOs, the academe and other organizations and institutions. 

PAMANA Ka Sa Pilipinas is a nationwide alliance of community-based marine protected area managers composed of fisherfolk, fish wardens or Bantay Dagat, and local government units. Download the hi-resolution infographic of MPA managers here.

Haribon has been assisting the local governments and community-based organizations in the municipalities of Lanuza and Cortes since 2002 through capacity building, awareness raising, research and advocacy activities on biodiversity conservation. With funding support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Spanish Government through Cives Mundi, nine (9) MPAs were monitored from 2002 to 2009.

Today, Haribon is working or has worked in marine protected areas in the following areas: