Marine protected areas work and are key to saving coral reefs. Effectively managed MPAs represent the best defense coral reefs have against the ill effects of climate change: coral bleaching, introduced species, disease, and predator imbalances.

Resilient reefs, reef systems where locally derived threats (recreational damage, unsustainable coastal development, watershed contamination, unsustainable fishing practices, lack of education and awareness) are measurably reduced, are better able to combat the large-scale threats brought about by a warming world.

Studies show that even adjacent areas benefit from increased vitality in protected areas.

MPA networking provides opportunities for different managers and stakeholders to learn from each other and enhance the management of their respective MPAs.

Marine protected area networks in the Philippines: Trends and challenges for establishment and governance

by Alan T. White

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are the most extensively implemented fisheries management and conservation tool in the Philippines. 


Most MPAs have been established and managed by communities together with local governments in a variety of community-based and co-management schemes. This approach has proven successful in gaining community acceptance and achieving local-scale fisheries and conservation objectives. However, the contribution of these MPAs to ecologically connected networks of MPAs is variable since most MPAs were not designed to be parts of networks. Nevertheless, there is growing support for the development of MPAs within the national integrated coastal management framework which supports the “scaling up” of MPAs to establish networks. Scaling up in the Philippine context is achieved by forging inter-institutional collaboration among neighboring local governments (i.e. village to provincial level), with the assistance of other institutions such as non-government organizations, academe, government agencies, and development partners including donors.



SEC. 81. Fish Refuge and Sanctuaries

  – The Department may establish fish refuge and sanctuaries to be administered in the manner to be prescribed by the BFAR at least twenty-five percent (25%) but not more than forty percent (40%) of bays, foreshore lands, continental shelf or any fishing ground shall be set aside for the cultivation of mangroves to strengthen the habitat and the spawning grounds of fish. Within these areas no commercial fishing shall be allowed. All marine fishery reserves, fish sanctuaries and mangrove swamp reservations already declared or proclaimed by the President or legislated by the Congress of the Philippines shall be continuously administered and supervised by the concerned agency: Provided, however, that in municipal waters, the concerned LGU in consultation with the FARMCs may establish fishery refuge and sanctuaries: The FARMCs may also recommend fishery refuge and sanctuaries: Provided, further, that at least fifteen percent (15%) where applicable of the total coastal areas in each municipality shall be identified, based on the best available scientific data and in consultation with the Department, and automatically designated as fish sanctuaries by the LGUs in consultation with the concerned FARMCs.