In order to introduce the proposed Marine Protected Area of Munting Buhangin to the local communities, the municipality of Abra de Ilog, in partnership with Ecotone Resilience, invited all relevant stakeholders for a constructive dialogue. The invitation was sent on behalf of Hon. Meg Constantino, Mayor of Abra de Ilog Municipality and Hon. Normita L. Hernandez, Kapitana of Barangay Udalo, in partnership with Ecotone Resilience. The meeting took place on 30th July with representatives of DA- BFAR, of DENR, Barangay officials, Bantay Dagat, representatives of fishermen of each sitio of Barangay Udalo, fishing boat owners of Barangay Udalo, fishermen and representatives from other MPAs for testimony, and representatives of Ecotone Resilience.
Elsa, Marine and Ryan, seen here on the right hand side of the picture, are preparing the meeting which took place in Camurong Elementary School, Sitio Bugtong.
The meeting was well attended with well over 50 participants from many different local sites ("sitios").
Discussions were lively, many of the participants had preconceived ideas about the MPA, which, in their minds equates to banning fishing altogether and depriving them from their main source of livelihood. This introductory meeting paved the way for many more discussions, consultations and visits to the communities in order to clarify remaining misunderstandings, to help them formulate their opinions and concerns and show them that it is a cooperative elaboration in which they are fully included.
In parallel, Ryan, Marine and Fidel are conducting a socio-ecological survey (fishery landings and socio-economical profile of the fishermen), which will allow us to assess the current situation. Furthermore, Clément trained them to conduct the second biological survey (fish stock and coral reef assessment) which will take place in early september together with the LGUs.