Managing fisheries resources in Danajon Bank, Bohol, Philippines: an ecosystem-based approach

Type Journal Article - Coastal Management
Title Managing fisheries resources in Danajon Bank, Bohol, Philippines: an ecosystem-based approach
Volume 37
Issue 3-4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 308-330
The Danajon Bank double barrier reef, located off northern Bohol Island of central
Philippines, is the focus of this case study on ecosystem-based management (EBM).
Fisheries management is relatively new in the area, particularly the aspect of managing
fish stocks with wide distribution patterns crossing jurisdictional boundaries. Nevertheless,
stakeholders are taking bold steps toward improving fisheries management.
The impetus to take action comes from the realization that coastal habitats can no
longer sustain the level of exploitation to which they have been exposed. The initiative
is facilitated by the USAID-funded Fisheries Improved for Sustainable Harvests
(FISH) Project in collaboration with various partners. The EBM approach of the FISH
Project is incremental and builds on existing management systems and utilizes existing
legal and institutional frameworks while encouraging progress toward ecosystem-wide
management. Fisheries management tools include coastal management, marine protected
areas, limitations on fishing effort and gear, control of extraction of specific life
stages of important species, licensing, zoning, and coastal law enforcement. One FISH
Project goal is to increase fish biomass by at least 10% in 2010 over the 2004 baseline.
Monitoring data collected in 2006 and 2008 to quantify changes against baseline data
for key indicators have generally shown incremental improvements based on fisheriesindependent
surveys and MPA assessments. The Danajon Bank experience shows that
there are three major components in working toward EBM: (1) fisheries management
interventions should always consider a defined ecosystem boundary as resource management
unit; (2) there is a need to understand the dynamics of marine ecosystems
and how they respond to human-induced changes, particularly to changes resulting
from fisheries; and (3), there is a need for a governance system that supports limits to
fisheries resource exploitation activities. The match between the spatial range of the
ecosystem and the governance system is the most important consideration and will play
an important role in scaling up of fisheries management initiatives

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