December 2015 News

December 2015 Page
Club Marine Magazine Feature

Australia’s leading marine lifestyle magazine, Club Marine featured the Saving Philippine Reefs Expedition and UCF in their Dec/Jan 2016 edition.

The article written by Sheree Marris documents inside the Tubbataha expedition and the incredible colour and diversity of the area. Spreading over 6 pages, we’re hoping that this article will encourage more people to support the work of UCF and it’s partners such as the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation who organise the expeditions as well as other incredible marine conservation projects. With a subscriber list of over 92,000 we’re looking forward to seeing some new faces on the trips.A huge thanks to Club Marine for their fantastic support.

Check out the full article here:

Philippines Braces for it’s Worst El Nino

El Nino occurs every two to seven years in varying intensity. This year looks as though it’s going to be an extreme phenomenon in the Philippines as El Nino may intensify from moderate to strong in the last quarter of 2015 up to the first quarter of 2016. The Philippine government and some environmental groups have instituted measures to mitigate the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon, with waters in the eastern Pacific varying up to 4 degrees Celsius warmer than usual .

Mitigation includes the public reducing water and electricity consumption as these two commodities would be the first to be affected by the prolonged drought caused by El Nino. Important measures are being take to lessen El Nino’s impact on the country’s main agricultural products, through initiated water-management and production-support programmes to help farmers deal with the impact of the drought. With the primary concern being food security because prolonged drought would drastically cut down the production of local crops and fisheries yield.

Read more:

Fisher Folk Cashing in on Lobster

Don’t look now, but small fishermen in Caraga region of the Philippines are cashing in on the Spiny Lobster (Pinalurus ornatus) which thrives in the clean coastal waters in the two provinces of Surigao and Dinagat Island.
Previously, only the moneyed investors could afford to raise the Spiny Lobster, hiring the small fisher folk to grow the expensive crustacean for them. Thanks to a four-year rural development program, by Philippine Cold Chain Project, the small fishermen can now acquire the expensive lobster fingerlings for their own grow out operation, helping to create a more sustainable future for their families and local community.

Under the program, the small fisher folk can borrow from the First Community Cooperative (FICCO) which is the partner of Winrock in implementing the project. The loan is guaranteed by PCCP, but the farmer does not receive any cash. Profits from undertaking this loan project have shown to be significant, with Ronald Valencia of Cagdianao, Dinagat Island monthly net income moving from an average income of P3,750 a month to P17,904.16. Many other farm families are likewise deriving additional incomes from other projects. Many of the families are into hog raising. In hog raising, Winrock’s partner is Pilmico which supplies the feeds and technical know-how.

Read more:

Local Fishing Rights & Marine Reserves

From the big, stilted offshore guardhouse overlooking one of the six fishery replenishment zones in Bindoy, Philippines, local volunteer guards keep a 24/7 watch against illegal fishing. Recently guards have spotted more and more fish weaving around the structure, seeing more fish in these no-take zones and the seas surrounding the Philippines is a sign of renewed life. Getting by on an occupation connected to fishing has become more difficult, as the ocean no longer provides what it used to. A small-scale fisher in the Philippines who once caught more than 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of fish in the 1940s can now expect to catch just 3kg(6.6 pounds) with the same effort by the early 2000’s.

Under TURF, a form of rights-based fisheries management, local fishers receive exclusive access to a designated fishery area, enabling them to dodge a common “race to fish” against all other fishers operating off a given coast. By guaranteeing exclusive fishing access, TURFs can give local fishers and community members powerful personal incentives to ensure their fisheries are well managed and the surrounding ecosystem is healthy.

Thanks to the board and all of our Unico Conservation Foundation members this year who continue to support our marine conservation efforts in Australia and overseas.  We look forward to an exciting 2016 as we continue to expand our partnerships, build greater awareness of UCF and encourage greater participation in our projects.