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Tubod Marine Sanctuary, Philippines

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Tubod Marine Sanctuary, Municipality of San Juan, Siquijor Province

Situated on the southwestern side of the island, this 7.5 hectare protected area was originally declared in 1989 through Municipal Ordinance 07-1989. A series of amendments in the ordinance and changes in the management body re-established it as a protected area in 2003 through Municipal Ordinance 15-2003. This fringing reef is characterized by a long stretch of white sand, a large algal and sea-grass bed in the flat reef and followed by a slope dominated by branching growth forms of live hard corals. This MPA is also houses the Coco Grove resort and Sea Explorers dive shop.

The MPA is managed by the Tubod Fishermen’s Association which is an organization of local people. It is also assisted by the Municipality of San Juan, the provincial government, the Tubod barangay local government unit, Coco Grove Beach Resort, and the Coastal Conservation and Education (CCE) Foundation. Based on the Management Rating System, Tubod Marine Sanctuary is Level 4 (marine protected area (MPA) is sustained) and has an accumulated number points total of 34. According to community surveys, priorities for improved management include:

1) developing a sustainable financing mechanism for MPA management;

2) providing supplementary income and livelihood options to the affected fishing community;

3) seeking more support from the government at the municipal and provincial level.

Habitats Conserved

The habitats being conserved in this marine sanctuary are mainly coral reefs and seagrass. Notable species that have been resident marine life inside the sanctuary are turtles and the potato-head grouper (Epinephelus tukula). There are also several stations where giant clams have been placed for protection within the sanctuary, which are closely monitored by the Sea Explorers divers in the adjacent dive shop.

Conservation Values

To date, the conservation values put on the MPA by the community are to improve biodiversity and protect habitats, in order to increase the catch of fish in the future. They also view this as a major resource that will be left for generations of fishermen that will continue after them. For the tourist communities, they are more concerned about great dive spots, with lots of unique marine life to observe. It has been fortunate that the local diving community has taken an interest in conserving the area and promoting it as a prime dive spot with high biodiversity. The local diving community sees how integrating business and conservation achieves a good outcome for both divers and the community. The Province of Siquijor, with its incumbent leaders, is beginning to see marine conservation as a positive approach to helping their community fisheries as well as improving their tourism industry. They have recently passed a provincial-wide Environment Code to protect and properly manage Siquijor’s fishing grounds and marine species, mangrove areas, and marine sanctuaries.

Impacts

The community and the local government unit that are involved in the management of the sanctuary are using the Marine Protected Area (MPA) management rating system as a tool to measure MPA management effectiveness. The Tubod Fishermen’s Association manages the collection of user’s fees. Apart from this, the Association is managing a Botica sa Barangay (a Pharmacy of the Barangay) with their share of the income from the collection of user fees.

CCE Foundation has been assisting the municipality of San Juan in terms of coastal resource management planning and activity implementation. The Foundation introduced the use of the MPA rating tool as a monitoring tool for gauging and improving MPA management efforts.

Governance

The Municipality of San Juan has been very supportive of the efforts of coastal resource management. The MPA is legalized by municipal ordinance and a budget has already been allocated for MPA maintenance since its establishment.

There are deputy fish wardens serving within the municipality and some of these are assigned to oversee the activities in the MPA. The Sea Explorers dive shop has been extremely active in promoting the sanctuary as a prime dive spot. Sea Explorers is also actively involved in the guarding of the sanctuary since the shop is situated right in front of the sanctuary area and right beside the sanctuary guardhouse. The manager of the dive shop has even included the Tubod Marine Sanctuary in his publication promoting different dive sites in the Province of Siquijor.

Information provided by Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, CCEF (and the Silliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management, SUAKCREM) in 2009.