Mangrove restoration and protection to secure the coastline and increase coastal resilience to storm surges, flooding and erosion.
Barangay Silonay in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro is one of the priority sites for Conservation International's EbA intervention in the country. The Silonay Mangrove Conservation and Ecotourism Project is implemented by the Sama-Samang Nagkakaisang Pamayanan ng Silonay (SNPS), a local community organization with funding support from the Conservation International – Philippines (CI-P) under its Climate Change Initiative – Ecosystem-based Adaptation (IKI-EbA). This project has been enforced through execution of a Conservation Agreement entered into between SNPS and CI last January 28, 2013 for the conservation and protection of a 42-hectare mangrove Marine Protected Area in Silonay. SNPS is expected to replenish mangroves regularly to ensure 100% survival rate.
The CI-SNPS-LGU initiative in Silonay is an excellent example of people-state-private partnership which directly addresses climate change challenges in the VIP, as well as a demonstration of the President's goal to implement its Social Contract with the Filipino people. In the spirit of volunteerism, SNPS was able to diversify income from mangrove conservation/planting to micro-enterprise projects ranging from eco-tourism/kayaking activities, cornick repacking, shing-a-ling production, and t-shirt and souvenir items vending. A Tourism Master Plan has been prepared, which includes a mangrove boardwalk, wherein visitors can stroll around the vast expanse of the mangrove forest.
Improvement of fishing practices and the design and implementation of climate-smart marine protected areas.
CI's almost a decade of marine conservation and community organizing work produced increased marine reserves, buffer zones and the establishment of No Take Zones and Fishery Management Areas. Since 2008, existing marine protected areas have been strengthened and more were formed, generating a total of 81 MPA sites covering more than 17,000 hectares in the VIP.
A series of VIP Stakeholders consultations, focus group discussions and meetings were held from April to June of 2013. CI presented the highlights of the study on fisheries vulnerability assessment by Dr. Wilfredo Campos of the University of the Philippines, which demonstrated how small pelagic fishery stocks such as sardines and galunggong are impacted by climate change hazards. The study showed the oceanography and the immense biological productivity in the VIP. It also presented several adaptation options for VIP fishery management that LGUs and other stakeholders can consider. Foremost among the recommendations is the adoption of a closed season in specific areas in the VIP.
LGU representatives from Batangas province (Calatagan) and Mindoro (Lubang, Looc, Calapan) were present and participated in these gatherings and identified plans of action for fishery management and advocacy for the VIP. The LGU representatives from Batangas identified an EbA approach to planning and a closed season for Balayan Bay, which was supported by commercial fishers.
A seasonal closure is primarily a fishery management option, aimed at regulating catch to increase diminishing fish stocks. The vulnerability assessment results demonstrated that VIP experiences a regular upwelling phenomenon, which makes it possible for the fish population to thrive on the abundance of natural fish feed (chlorophyll). With climate change, the upwelling is threatened by higher sea surface temperature and more frequent and intense weather conditions. This plus severe fishing efforts within VIP pause deeper problems for the communities dependent on the regular availability of fish catch. A seasonal closure, once adopted for a limited period, within an annual cycle will provide respite for fish stock replenishment and survival.