Bato MPA and Ecotourism Initiative
About the Implementing organization
Name: Bato Small Fisheroflks and Ferry Boat Association
Year of establishment: 2007
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Other
BASFFA did not initiate the establishment of Bato MPA and the ecotourism initiative. In fact, they opposed it. They were using compressor fishing method and was against the LGU in establishing MPA because it will restrict their economic activity. But through series of dialogue and advocacy activities, BASFFA is now an active co-implementer and co-manager of the Bato MPA. They are in the forefront of the protection and conservation of the MPA, mangrove boardwalk, and Passig Islet.
BASFFA leads the management council of Bato MPA and operates the tourist foot traffic in Passig Islet by transporting them to and from the mangrove port. They educate tourists about MPA, mangroves, and segrass through personal experiences and tales in the sea.
Oceans / Coasts / Wetlands
Type of Action
Protection / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Disaster risk reduction / Climate action
The fishing pressure in Bato community was reduced, if not totally eliminated. There are Bantay Dagat (sea rangers) who patrol the area regularly while advocacy work at the ground level continues to educate small fisherfolks including those who live in the adjacent communites of Bato about sustainable use of marine resources.
The mangrove and seagrass areas were given significant protection and representation in the MPA. This addressed one of the identified issues in the Philippines which is the lack of representation of spatial coverage in which marine conservation efforts are biased towards coral reefs only. in the case of Bato, the three marine ecosystem are equally protected and represented.
Sustainable Development Impacts
In the early 1990's, a fisherfolk's daily catch averaged from 3 kilograms to 5 kilograms of fish. Since the MPA was established, gradual impact trickled down to the community when fisherfolks start to harvest 35 to 50 kilograms of fish daily compare to the meager 5-kilogram in the past decades. It greatly contributes to the economic growth at the household and local levels.
The tourism activity also paved way for small fisherfolks to earn more money during closed season of fishing. During lean season, an extra 200-300 pesos is earned by one fisherfolk. During peak season (or summer), they can earn as much as 1,000 pesos.
The SMARTSeas PH project aims to network all MPAs in Davao Gulf, where Bato MPA is located. There are plans to integrate the ecotourism services of Davao Gulf wherein Bato MPA and Ecotourism Initiative will be one of the pilot sites and learning model. The services will expand to diving, snorkelling, homestays, food catering, and others.
This initiative can be replicated in areas where potential tourism sites can be developed. The experience of BASFFA is a good learning model for other community-based organization on how to face the challenges and work harmoniously with the local government unit in protecting the environment while benefitting from the ecological services.
Initial site assessment should be done in order to identify the possible ecological services a certain area could offer. It is crucial that from the fees generated from the tourism activities, a portion will plow back to the management of the protected area and the environment as a whole. As of now, the SMARTSeas PH Project is considering the BASFFA and Bato MPA as one of its model sites in the Philippines in ecotourism managed by a community-based organization.
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