ADB is helping the Philippines strengthen its fragile marine ecosystem through a $33.8 million loan for a project to improve coastal resource management and boost livelihoods of fisherfolk.
ADB will also administer a $9.0 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant for the project.
The project will be carried out in six priority marine biodiversity corridors and ecosystems, covering coastal communities in 68 municipalities 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 coastal and marine resources of the Philippines are of national and global importance because of their rich biodiversity and contribution to the economy.
The Philippines is the 11th largest fish producer in the world, its fishing industry employing more than one million people, or 5% of the national labor force. However, these resources are declining and biodiversity is under threat due to human activities.
Of the 25,000 square kilometers of coral reefs in the Philippines, less than 5% are still in excellent condition. Mangrove forests are declining at a rate of 2,000 hectares per year.
Municipal fisheries production has been declining, with an average reef fish catch per unit effort at less than 2 kilograms per day, down from as much as 20 kg/day 30 years ago.
Overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and land conversion around the coastal areas are threatening to inflict permanent damage on the ecosystem.
The lack of an integrated approach to coastal zone planning, policy and institutional weaknesses, weak law enforcement, high poverty incidence, and unabated access to marine and coastal resources are aggravating the situation.