Serene Seascape with Islands and Bangkas after Sunset

Replicating a successful model to develop a network of Indigenous-Marine-Managed-Areas in the Philippines

Lead Institute: C3 Philippines

Partner Institute: University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Marine Archaeology (EMA)

Project Manager: DR. Chris Poonian,,  Reynante Ramilo,

The Calamian Islands in the Philippines are home to numerous endangered marine species and the last remaining members of the Tagbanua tribe. This area is a centre for both marine and biocultural diversity. This project funded by the UK Biodiversity Challenge Fund’s Darwin Initiative aims to establish six Indigenous-Marine-Managed-Areas (IMMAs) in the Calamianes to protect these resources.

The project aims to conduct research into traditional knowledge and beliefs of the Tagbanua tribe, and how this influences their management of coastal resources. The project uses social and behavioural science research approaches to determine a pathway between traditional and scientific ecological knowledge, which can benefit the marine environment and local communities. This approach will be applied to each of the six IMMAs, and policy recommendations will be compiled for inclusion in each IMMA management plan.

Communities will receive training in marine ecology and cultural heritage for sustainable development, including threats and consequences of destructive activities and alternative livelihoods. The project will focus on fisherfolk, with an equal emphasis on men and women to enable behaviour change. Local Government Units and Barangay councils will be trained to co-develop marine resource management plans and create the necessary legislation and enforcement activities. The project will use social marketing techniques, such as the book ‘Diwa the Dugong’, to train fisherfolk to assist in monitoring the IMMA, reporting infractions and recording evidence on their mobile phones. The project will also facilitate exchanges between the proposed IMMAs and existing sites at Caluauit and others to create a strong network and allow experiences and successes to be shared.

The project will establish a centre for Tagbanua handicraft in Coron and develop online marketing. Local women will receive training in quality control, ensuring that they can earn the maximum possible income from their handicrafts. This will improve local wellbeing and empowerment, community resilience, and reduce dependence on fisheries for income, providing a safety net for the poorest families when fishing is not possible.

Balangay resting on shore
Coral reef in a Tagbanua community, Philippines
The C3 team sits by waterfront in the Philippines
Balangay by a tree in water, Philippines

The aims of this project are:

This project aims to finalize the establishment of six legally-recognized Indigenous-Marine-Managed-Areas in the Calamianes. To do so, the project will conduct:

  1. Sociocultural research conducted into traditional knowledge of Tagbanua and implications for marine resource management at six target IMMA sites
  2. Capacity building and legal support delivered to six barangays who have proposed marine managed areas Communities will receive training in marine ecology and the utilisation of cultural heritage for sustainable development, including threats and consequences of destructive activities and alternative livelihoods
  3. Coordinated marketing plans developed for traditional crafts to improve incomes of communities involved in six marine areas

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