Coral, Climate, Community: Protecting a Fragile Ecosystem, Philippines

People and the Sea is supporting coastal communities in the Philippines to sustainably manage and benefit from their vital marine resources. People and the Sea aims to improve local livelihoods and protect marine biodiversity through a range of community-led initiatives focused on waste reduction, sustainable fishing, marine research, youth education and the economic resilience of coastal communities.

Malapascua, a 2km squared island in the Visayan Sea, Philippines, is home to some of the richest areas of marine biodiversity, including the only site worldwide where threatened thresher sharks can reliably be sighted. Coral reefs and seagrass meadows are the foundation of this oasis; a dense web of species depend on them. After climate change, the two major pressures on coral ecosystems are destructive fishing practices, and crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) infestation. This project by People and the Sea, will actively engage local stakeholders in the protection of coral and seagrass ecosystems by training 12 diving surveyors and 10 seagrass surveyors, who will monitor reefs, lead coral conservation dives and survey seagrass. They will build support around 6 local reef protected areas and establish 2 new seagrass protected areas. The project will also monitor reefs for COTS infestation and carry out targeted control intervention, develop artificial reef structures and transplant 1500 coral fragments onto them.

The Update

Many thanks to EOCA member OSPREY for its generous contribution to this project following fundraisisng during Green Friday 2022.