December 2014 – Philippines – GREEN FINS Malapascua Activities

Green Fins Coordinators have recently been assessing dive centres on Malapascua Island and despite the memory of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) one year on, the community remains strong and empowered.

With all 18 dive centres signed up as members, Malapascua is the first Green Fins location to achieve 100% membership! All but two of these members have undergone both the assessment and awareness raising session as part of the annual renewal of active membership. Although the average assessment score increased (more environmental impact) from 2012, there is a strong drive to minimise environmental impacts to the marine environment from many stakeholders and we are confident that this score will drop considerably over the coming year. In addition, the Green Fins Ambassador Programme was introduced in Malapascua – six passionate local dive guides have received extra training to enable them to be local environmental champions.

The commitment to protecting Malapascua’s reefs is also reflected in a renewed spirit of collaboration between many groups of stakeholders. The Malapascua Marine Protection Fund (MMPF) collects a small donation from each person diving with the thresher sharks, and has been used to support mooring buoy programmes and patrols on Monad Shoal. It will now support the salary of the newly deputised Bantay Dagat (Sea Wardens) who are mobilised to patrol the surrounding protected areas from illegal fishing.

Reef-World were proud to work with the dive centres, Bantay Dagat and Dive Guides and Boat Crew Association (DGA) to create proposed legislation for the implementation of rules and regulations governing the diving industry on the island.

Simultaneously, our volunteer coordinators designed an Information Campaign to be delivered by representatives of the DGA and Bantay Dagat to enhance the governance of national, regional and local laws. This will educate local fisherfolk about the fishing laws and destructive fishing practices, and the important role of protected areas in sustaining Malapascua’s rich natural resources. This campaign is being piloted in every village in Malapascua with hopes to spread onto the Mainland. The materials seen below have all been made possible through funding from the MMPF. 

Congratulations to all the members, both old and new, on this round of assessments and training and look forward to working with you next year!

Picture of the ocean and beach in Malapascua, with a palm tree in the foreground.