I found the following article recently on philstar.com. Living and diving here since 8 year made recognize many changes in the underwater world around the Philippines. While some Coral Reefs are well protected, others got destroyed. Many regions change their rules and regulations, but read the article first…

During the last world war, Filipino and American soldiers made their final stand in Bataan before the country fell to Japanese invaders. Today Bataan is again a battleground, with defenders of the environment fighting to preserve its dwindling marine resources.

A study conducted in the coastal areas of Bataan last month by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines and the Manila Ocean Park found that the once extensive coral network of the province is in “a dismal state” and has become “a barren graveyard of broken algae-encrusted coral rubble.” The destruction is most extensive in the area around the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. WWF-Philippines and the MOP blamed the destruction on cyanide and dynamite fishing as well as typhoons.

While the lost corals are irretrievable, it is possible to save what is left of Bataan’s reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves. Environment groups are heartened by the results of conservation efforts in Palawan’s world-renowned Tubbataha Reefs. The annual fish biomass in Tubbataha has risen from 166 to 318 metric tons per square kilometer — a yield that is seven times higher than that of a typical healthy coral reef. The WWF credits this to effective coastal management, which has also boosted tourism in Palawan.

Similar efforts are being undertaken in places such as the Verde Island Passage near Mindoro, which has been described by the US Smithsonian Institute as “the center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity. Some 300 species of corals and rock canyons that host an estimated 60 percent of the world’s known shorefish species are endangered by destructive forms of fishing and the use of the Verde Island Passage for commercial shipping. Environment groups are moving to divert commercial vessels away from the coral reefs and guard against destructive fishing methods.

Conservation efforts succeed only in areas where communities participate. Residents of Palawan, whose economy is dependent on tourism, are involved in protecting their coastal resources. In coastal communities around the Albay Gulf, residents are reaping the benefits of a healthy marine environment that invites regular visits from whale sharks and dolphins. With similar conservation efforts, the remaining coastal resources of Bataan can still be saved. This is a battle that can be won.

I like the last sentence a lot, but sometimes I have the feeling that the officials go only one way. All rules and regulations won’t help if they don’t go along with education. It is just not working out to tell a traditional fisher-family “Stop fishing now”.

Those families do that since generations and won’t change behavior due to an announcement or a piece of paper. Additionally many municipalities just don’t care what has been decided in Manila and just working into their own pocket.

We all have to work together to protect the pristine coral reefs and underwater world in the Philippines. Everybody can do a little bit. Communication is one of the biggest factor for reaching that that goal. Helping people to understand why we need to put a lot of effort into reef-conservation. It is a never ending process and a hard battle which can only be won if we all pull on the same side of the string…