Saving Philippines Reefs

Saving Philippines Reefs

Unico Conservation Foundation focus on projects that deliver significant environmental, social and financial benefits to the communities in which they’re undertaken. The Saving Philippines Reefs was an inspirational project that captured our imagination. It offered the unique opportunity for hands-on engagement that would help build a more sustainable future for the local people and to protect the unique marine values of the area.

UCF Saving Philippine Reefs from sheree marris on Vimeo.

The Rationale

Fishing is the most important source of food for a large portion of the Filipino people, however a growing population is putting increasing pressure on this limited resource, driving some to adopt damaging practices such as dynamite and cyanide fishing.

Setting up marine protected areas MPAs would ensure sustainable management of marine resources, while securing the livelihoods of millions of people. The political structure of the Philippines allows marine protected areas to be established and enforced by local governments such that most MPAs in the country are now under local government jurisdiction.

Thus, the primary means to ensure effective MPAs in the country is through the active support of local government. To ensure an effective MPAs, interested parties must persuade the Mayor and the local people to support it. To do this they must demonstrate its effectiveness and benefits.[/cs_text]

The Solution

(SPR), a program founded by eminent Marine Scientist , Dr Alan White and his wife, Evangeline White, from the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF). (CCEF) is a not-for-profit organisation and leader of coastal resource management in the Philippines.

SPR is an annual monitoring program that invites volunteers from around the world to collect data within existing MPAs and to document changes in the reef condition and fish abundance over time. The aim is to use the data to improve the quality and quantity of information available on coral reefs and for improving management and creation of appropriate policies for protection and sustainable use of coastal resources.

It is an innovative program that has been actively supported by the Unico Conservation Foundation since 2005 through participation in expeditions, collection of scientific data, assistance with data management systems as well as financial support.

The Result

There has been tremendous progress to date – More than 60 marine protected areas in the Visayas region of the Philippines have been established and improved over the last 10 years through assistance with management and protection, and largely due to the monitoring and training activities of this program.

It is creating a more sustainable future for the Filipino people and will have a continuing effect to the health of oceans not only locally but across the globe, with the model already being replicated in Indonesia and other countries in the Coral Triangle.

For more information on Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation and their incredible work jump onto their website: