Strengthening the Marine Protected Area System to Conserve Marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines (SMARTSeas) Project in Lanuza Bay

Communities in Lanuza Bay, Surigao del Sur are protecting their marine resources by building a strong network of organizations and a marine protected area network.

The SMARTSeas Project in Lanuza Bay provides effective MPA management, developing sustainable financing mechanisms, and policy framework to the seven local governments of Lanuza Bay and the Nagkahiusang Mananagat na Nag-amping sa Kadagatan (NAMANAKA) sa Lanuza Bay, a baywide federation managing the 16 MPAs in Lanuza Bay, Surigao del Sur.

The Lanuza Bay Development Alliance (LBDA) and its seven-member local government units now have a framework that can guide them in improving the management effectiveness of the current and future marine protected areas in Lanuza Bay. The newly-updated Lanuza Bay Environmental Management Plan and the MPA management plans of the 16 MPAs in the area will enable the LGUs and POs to implement a plan formulated by them with support from the project.

The selected members of the People’s Organizations managing the MPAs are now deputized and are now able to apprehend illegal fishers or people poaching within the MPAs. The fish warden deputation gives them more confidence to enforce fishery laws with their newly-acquired knowledge on Philippine laws. They are equipped with GPS instruments whose data can be used as evidence and in the process of filling up affidavits during case filing.

The POs or MPA managers have realized their capabilities and are willing to expand their capacity in order to improve themselves and their organizations. This translates into a stronger organization that can engage other partners to improve MPA management.

“Dili na me magsalig sa kita sa amoang bana sa pangisda para ipalit ug asin, asukar ug baon sa mga bata sa eskwela.” / We no longer depend from the income of our husbands to buy salt, sugar and allowance of our children in school.” -Bonifacia Maquilinga, Volunteer fish warden & bookkeeper of Kadagatan Ampingan Pagmata Katawhan (KAAMPAKA), Cortes, Surigao del Sur