Cagayan Ridge
a reef scene in Balabag Marine Sanctuary, Cagayancillo, Palawan
©Badi Samaniego

A strong partnership between CI and the local government of Cagayancillo led to the successful expansion of the municipality's five pre-existing marine protected areas and the establishment of four new ones in sites which have been identified to have the greatest potential for contributing to fish stock improvements. These MPAs are being managed by local multisectoral councils that have been trained in various aspects of MPA management.

CI also assisted in setting up an adjudication board to facilitate disposition of illegal fishing cases. Members of the adjudication board were trained on salient provisions of the Fisheries Code, the municipal fisheries ordinance, the Cagayancillo Adjudication Board ordinance, and Alternative Dispute Resolution laws and systems. Conflict diagnosis, effective communication, negotiation, and mediation skills were also shared and practiced through lectures and simulation exercises.

In Tubbataha Reefs, Republic Act 10067 of 2010 created a 10-nautical mile buffer zone (about 350,000 hectares) around the 97,000-hectare park and imposed steeper penalties for violations. CI has supported the information campaigns of the Tubbataha Management Office in Palawan, which regularly conducts coastal barangay activities to inform fishers of the importance of conserving Tubbataha’s biodiversity, as of the laws and regulations governing the marine park. These information campaigns hope to minimize violations caused by lack of awareness of the laws and to engage the community and fishers as partners in conservation and law enforcement.