Experts to boost marine conservation in the Philippines

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — On June 27-29, 2011, leading international and Filipino scientists and resource managers will meet in Cebu City to address one of the Philippines’ most intractable problems: how best to protect the nation’s internationally significant waters against rampant overexploitation.

Organized by Project Seahorse Foundation (PSF), the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Workshop will draw on the collective experience and expertise of over 40 academics and leaders from government, business, and the NGO sector to transfer knowledge from scientists to the people who need to use it most.

“The goal of the workshop is to enhance protection of the Philippines’ vulnerable marine habitats and species. Coastal marine habitats and animal populations are in decline around the world because of overfishing, pollution, and other harmful human activities. The Philippines is an incredibly important area of biodiversity in the Pacific.,” says Angelie C. Nellas, senior biologist and officer-in-charge at PSF.

Over the past 15 years, PSF and its international partner organization, Project Seahorse, have engaged in a remarkable double act, catalyzing the creation of new MPAs while conducting world-calibre research now how to do things even better. 

The results have been impressive.  Support from PSF has enabled local communities to establish 33 MPAs in the central Philippines. These no-take reserves act as sanctuaries where fish populations and habitats can flourish, increasing marine resources in the long run. On the research front, PSF and Project Seahorse have developed novel conservation tools to make the management of coastal marine resources more effective — tools which will be shared and refined at the MPA Workshop.

The national government of the Philippines has mandated the protection of 15% of the country’s coastal waters. “Our job is to help make that mandate a reality,” says Dr. Amanda Vincent, co-founder and director of Project Seahorse internationally. “We need to look after marine resources for the long run if we want to achieve food security.”

 “By sharing innovation among diverse stakeholders, we can quickly advance marine protection in the Philippines and ensure that vital ecosystems survive and thrive for generations to come,” says Nellas.

For more information, contact Project Seahorse at t.stiem@projectseahorse.org or +1 604 827 5142.