This project was undertaken to avert resource degradation in Cogtong Bay and promote a more sustainable coastal resource management strategy in order to safeguard vital fisheries for communities along the bay. The project involved both a program of interventions and a process of capacitating communities to undertake their own development and assume responsibility for the conservation of their own productive resources. Community-based coastal resource management recognizes that the coastal residents are the real day-to-day managers of their day-to-day resources. They are the ones who decide each day whether to exploit their productive resources mindlessly or to manage them for long-term, sustained yields. Thus, this project focused on involving community members in every step of the process and helping them organize themselves to rehabilitate local ecosystems and effectively manage their resources into the future.
Cogtong Road Network, Candijay, Bohol, Philippines, 9.848770027488612, 124.53454558203123
Country or Territory:
Estuaries, Marshes & Mangroves
Area being restored:
Primary Causes of DegradationFisheries & Aquaculture, Mining & Resource Extraction
The introduction of fishpond technology, the arrival of commercial fishers and the entry of commercial mangrove cutters from neighboring provinces have all been major factors in the degradation of mangroves and marine ecosystems in Cogtong Bay. Fishermen from local communities reported the decline of their average catch from about 20 kilos in the 1960s, to 10 kilos in the 1970s, to approximately 5-7 kilos in the 1980s.
Reference Ecosystem Description
The coastal shelves around the islands of the Central Visayas region account for just 12% of the marine waters but support almost all marine fishery activities. The productivity of these waters depends on the condition of adjacent coral reefs, mangroves and estuaries. Mud crabs (alimango) and mangrove clams (imbao) are important mangrove fisheries, while shrimp and prawns are commonly caught in the rivers. Rabbit fish (danggit), mullet, blue crabs, sea cucumber and sea weed (gracilaria) are taken from the sea grass beds, and small pelagic fishes including sardines and mackerel dominate the offshore catch.
– To rehabilitate 360 hectares of mangrove under a community-planned approach that provides 480 families with Certificate of Stewardship Contracts (CSCs). These contracts are intended to establish a land tenure system that recognizes the holder’s right to use the land but also their responsibility to ensure its protection.
– To install approximately 240 artificial reef clusters in coastal waters adjacent to areas with mangrove rehabilitation in order to increase the fish population.
– To give the communities center stage in the planning and implementation process in order to invest them in long-term sustainable development and help them assume the responsibilities of resource management.
The project does not have a monitoring plan.
The project generated the participation of some 405 legitimate participants/beneficiaries. These participants were marginal fishers, shell gatherers, nipa shingle makers and mangrove firewood cutters who depended, all or in part, on the resources of the bay.
Description of Project Activities:
Reforestation activities included areas at the outer edge of existing mangrove stands extending 50 to 100 meters seaward, and also some areas illegally cleared for fishpond development. The primary reforestation species is Rhizophora spp, but Xylocarpus Granatum and Avicennia spp. were also considered. Replanting was organized through the system of Certificate of Stewardship Contracts (CSCs), whereby certificate holders were placed in charge of the rehabilitation effort. Areas technically suited for mangrove reforestation and subsequent management were first identified for project clients. Before planting activities actually commenced, each applicant for a stewardship contract would develop a plan that outlined the areas for new and enrichment planting, the species to be used and proposed maintenance procedures.
Ecological Outcomes Achieved
Eliminate existing threats to the ecosystem:
A post-project mangrove assessment in July 1997 indicates a relatively good mangrove growth at the reforested areas, particularly at Katungkian, which seems to have been influenced by protection from waves, relatively shallow depth, extensive water run-offs, and a muddy soil layer. The total basal area of mangrove stands was highest in Katungkian at 6.82 m2ha-1.
Socio-Economic & Community Outcomes Achieved
Economic vitality and local livelihoods:
From the perspective of fishermen, positive socioeconomic changes occurred in a number of indicators, given a comparison of the situation before the project (1988) and after the project (1997) (Pomeroy et al. 1996). Larger positive changes were perceived in knowledge of mangroves, information exchange on both mangrove management and fisheries management, control over mangrove resources, quickness of resolving community conflicts, and influence over community affairs. They also perceived an improvement in household income and household well-being, among others. In recent years, the Village and Municipal Councils of Candijay and Mabini have demonstrated a stronger interest in coastal resource management. They have supported the establishment of a new fish sanctuary at Lumislis Island, pushed for stricter local legislation, and recognized communal mangrove areas for firewood gatherers.
Key Lessons Learned
The shift from open access to a communal property rights regime for mangrove areas in Cogtong Bay was prompted by several factors. These include: 1) a common dependence on coastal resources on the part of resource users; 2) desire for better coastal resource management on the part of government organizations and non-government organizations; 3) concern for improving the socioeconomic condition of poor coastal residents; 4) legitimacy of property rights; and, 5) realization of the need for collective action against illegal fishing and illegal mangrove cutting to avert further resource degradation.
Many participants were initially hesitant to cooperate as a result of conflicting government policies and the disinclination of some local government officials to strict law enforcement. These issues were eventually resolved when project leaders, together with fishermen’s associations, pressured appropriate organizations to take action. However, this conflict draws attention to the difficulty of managing coastal resources without the sustained cooperation of the government and the resource users in order to make rules and regulations work (particularly for fisheries management).
It appears that the co-management regime initiated by this project has been more successful in mangrove management than fisheries management. This is due, in part, to the issuance of stewardship contracts that provided a strong incentive to protect the mangrove stands, but the relative ease of patrolling the mangrove areas is also a factor.
Nurturing the resource base and protecting livelihoods over the longer term called for a shift from a ‘use orientation’ to a ‘resource management orientation’ that actively seeks the enhancement of knowledge, skills, responsibility and accountability of resource users and other stakeholders. Central to this perspective is the recognition that resource users are de facto managers of the natural resource base and stewards of the environment in which they live.
Sources and Amounts of Funding
This project was originally financed through a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and was extended through a grant from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).