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ADB supports project to save threatened marine life in Philippines

ADB supports project to save threatened marine life in Philippines

With less than 5 percent of coral reefs in the Philippines left untouched, the Asian Development Bank has stepped in with a US$42.8 million loan to help fishermen and officials better manage the ecosystem ravaged by overfishing.
The six-year project will provide extra incomes for fishermen and their families through small-business enterprises and addressing their social needs in a bid to reduce overfishing, fishing with dynamite or cyanide, and land conversion along the coast, the Manila-based lender said Thursday.
The Philippine archipelago is the 11th largest fish producer in the world and the fishing industry employs 5 percent of the labor force. But the ADB says the resources are declining and biodiversity is under threat from encroaching human activities.
Of the 25,000 square kilometers (9,652 square miles) of coral reefs, less than 5 percent are still in excellent condition. Mangrove forests are declining at a rate of 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) per year, ADB said.
Fisheries production has been declining, with an average reef fish catch per unit at less than 2 kilograms per day, down from as much as 20 kg per day 30 years ago, it said.
The gradual destruction can be attributed to the lack of coastal zone planning, policy and institutional weaknesses, weak law enforcement, high poverty, and unabated access to marine and coastal resources, the bank said.
The project will cover six priority marine biodiversity corridors and ecosystems in the provinces of Cagayan, Cebu, Davao Oriental, Masbate, Siquijor, and Zambales, where almost eight out of 10 people are living below the poverty line.
The areas include the Babuyan corridor along the northern coast of Luzon, the Ticao Pass-San Bernardino Strait-Samar Sea corridor, the Daanbantayan corridor straddling the Visayas Sea and the Tanon Strait, and the Pujada Bay corridor.
The programs "will directly address threats to major coastal ecosystems including coral reefs, sea grass, mangroves, and beaches, to improve fishing catches in the coastal waters and address environmental degradation," said M. Jamilur Rahman, an ADB specialist.
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Updated : 2021-04-19 02:27 GMT+08:00