A Thematic Analysis of Fisherfolk and Local Government Unit Officials’ Interviews on Marine Protected Area Management in Tanon Strait, Philippines
Steinkoenig, Zachary J
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a common management tool used to protect important fishery resources and habitats. The Philippines has two major types of MPAs, local community-based MPAs and National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) protected areas. The Tanon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) is a NIPAS protected area and includes community MPAs inside its scope. The location of two types of protected areas in the same space is a unique case study for rule crafting, decision making, and co-management. Fisherfolk organization (FO) representatives and Local Government Unit (LGU) officials were questioned in seven Negros Oriental municipalities for to distinguish rules, gauge fisherfolk involvement, assess the impact of an MPA network, and uncover community MPA enhancement actions for the two types areas. Thematic coding and analysis of the interviews with the aid of descriptive statistics developed major themes which are framed and guided by the Institutional and Analysis Development (IAD) Framework. The results show MPA and TSPS rules in Tanon Strait had different directions of development. TSPS rules of commercial and illegal fishing had initially been informal and determined by a variety of actors and eventually led to a management plan while MPA rules of no-take zones had been developed first and followed by fisherfolk education and compliance. Fisherfolk are involved in MPA and TSPS enforcement and rule following more than policy creation and the decision-making process. An MPA Network, the BATMan alliance, has helped municipalities ‘scale-up’ and has led to a decrease in commercial fishing in a portion of TSPS. Municipalities in Negros Oriental have also worked with an NGO, RARE, to increase community awareness and ownership over coastal resources. Communities within Tanon Strait still have difficulties in enforcing the rules of no illegal and commercial fishing and recommend more resources for better community-based MPA infrastructure.