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close this bookBasic Concepts in Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Management: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1993, 151 p.)
close this folderIntroduction
View the documentUse of workshop
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentSupport staff
View the documentGlossary of commonly used environmental terms
View the documentList of references
close this folderEcological basics
View the documentEcosystem degradation
View the documentHabitat and niche
View the documentThe food chain
View the documentBiological magnification
View the documentNitrogen cycle
View the documentSociety and the carbon-oxygen cycle
View the documentHealth consequences of environmental degradation
View the documentPopulation and the environment
close this folderFreshwater and marine ecosystems
View the documentFreshwater ecosystems
View the documentEstuarine-mudflat ecosystems
View the documentSeagrass ecosystems
View the documentMangrove ecosystems
View the documentCoral reef ecosystems
View the documentHuman intrusions into the water cycle
View the documentDiversity of coastal and marine resources
View the documentPhilippine marine fisheries
View the documentMarine turtles
View the documentMarine food web
View the documentOcean pastures
View the documentThe menace of algal bloom
View the documentRed tide (Dynamics and public health aspects)
close this folderForest ecosystems
View the documentTropical forest -ecosystems
View the documentProtected areas: a tool for biological diversity conservation
View the documentEnvironmental effects of overexploitation for fuelwood in nearshore coastal resources
View the documentBiological diversity: and wildlife conservation
View the documentWildlife trade
close this folderGlobal warming and acid rain
View the documentClimate change and the greenhouse effect
View the documentHow deforestation contributes to the greenhouse effect
View the documentAcid rain
close this folderPollution
View the documentToxic and hazardous wastes
View the documentPollution and long-term effects on the human body
View the documentUrban pollution: The metro Manila environment
View the documentMining operations: environmental effects on soil, water, communities and atmosphere
View the documentPesticides: environmental and health effects
close this folderOthers
View the documentPhilippine commercial energy sources, 1990
View the documentCommon property resources in crisis
View the documentDegradation of the uplands
View the documentLowland degradation
View the documentEnvironmental issues in animal production
View the documentPlant genetic resources
View the documentNatural hazards

Philippine marine fisheries

Philippine marine fisheries

Philippine marine fisheries

Major source of livelihood and food

Broadly, marine fishery pertains to the harvesting of the wild populations of marine animals. Philippine waters abound with a variety of marine organisms that are utilized for food and other industries (e.g., marine natural products, shellcraft). Because the country is an archipelago, marine fisheries are the primary source of livelihood in coastal areas. Moreover, fish and shellfish are major sources of protein in the diet of Filipinos. The most commercially important marine animals are: fish, molluscs (e.g., marine snails, mussels, squids); crustaceans (e.g., crabs, lobsters, shrimps) and echinoderms (e.g., sea urchins, sea cucumbers).

Nearshore waters

As in other parts of the world, the major fisheries in the Philippines are concentrated in waters overlying the continental shelf (shallow underwater extension of a continent; usually limited in depth to 200 m). This is because inshore waters have a much higher primary productivity than deep open-ocean waters and, therefore, support larger populations of marine organisms at all trophic levels. Of the total landed fish in the country (approximately 2m tons in 1987), 25 percept come from coral reefs (27,000 km² - total area nationwide) alone. It is estimated that a coral reef in a good condition can annually yield as much as 30 m tons of fish per km². Aside from fish, a majority of benthic (bottom-dwelling) marine invertebrates are harvested from coral reef and adjacent seagrass areas. A wide range of fishing gears are used to harvest the diverse marine resources in these productive and diverse ecosystems.

Declining marine populations and degraded habitats

There has to be a limit to the harvesting of natural populations. A significant fraction of the populations must be left as breeding stocks to replenish the population. Subsequently, juveniles must be allowed to grow to reproductive maturity. Otherwise, natural populations will progressively diminish and may become extinct.

There are clear signs that many of the Philippines' fishery resources are already overexploited. The average size of fish and invertebrates caught by fishermen has declined. Likewise, there is an increase in the fishing effort needed to catch the same amount of fish. The pressure of increased demand for food and poverty due to the rapidly increasing human population promotes the over exploitation of marine resources. Moreover, the degradation of marine habitats due to destructive fishing methods (e.g., blast and cyanide fishing) and sedimentation, particularly in near shore waters, has accelerated the decline of marine fisheries. Appropriate management measures that will allow our overexploited marine populations and degraded habitats to recover need to be urgently implemented.