Oceana PH marks a decade of ocean
protection wins
SunStar Local News GPX

Oceana PH marks a decade of ocean protection wins

OCEANA Philippines, a global ocean conservation organization, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with optimism for future goals, reflecting on milestones achieved over the past decade.

Since opening its Philippine office in November 2014, Oceana has made significant strides in protecting the ocean, through safeguarding mangrove forests, pushing for the establishment of more coastal greenbelt zones and advocating the use of single-use plastics on marine protected areas.

Oceana Philippines laid down some of its achievements for the past 10 years during a press conference at a hotel in Cebu City on April 12, 2024.

The organization for the past decade has helped implement reforms to combat illegal fishing, thereby protecting crucial fish populations such as sardines, and safeguarding vital habitats like mangrove forests.

Oceana Philippines also played a role in establishing coastal greenbelt zones and is now pushing for a ban on single-use plastics in marine protected areas.

Collaborations

Over the past decade, Oceana has collaborated with national and local government units, fisherfolk organizations, non-governmental organizations and the academe.

It has also implemented transparency, monitoring and accountability tools to promote science-based and inclusive decision-making in fisheries management.

Oceana has supported the implementation of the National Sardine Management Plan, which the 29 local governments in Samar and Northern Samar have adopted through local legislation.

The National Sardine Management Plan safeguards sardine stocks, a budget-friendly source of protein consumed nationwide.

Moreover, Oceana Philippines dedicated efforts to safeguarding mangrove forests. Through local legislation, expansive coastal greenbelt zones have been established nationwide.

A total of 84 local government units have taken proactive measures by designating specific areas as local coastal greenbelt zones.

The organization also collaborated with various protected area management boards to issue resolutions banning the perilous single-use plastic in nationally established marine protected areas, such as the Tubbataha Reefs National Park and Apo Reef National Park.

The organization’s work continues as they strive for a more engaged citizenry, particularly among young people to collaborate on achieving food security and holding accountable those who harm the Philippines’ precarious marine resources.

Rhea Yray Frossard, Oceana Philippines’ campaign and research director, said they advocate for science-based policies relative to protecting the ocean.

“We have to ensure that experts are onboard, our scientists– our fisherfolks themselves are scientists because mas alam nila ang dagat kaysa sa those people with PhD (they know better than those with PhD),” she said.

“We look forward to a more engaged citizenry, especially from the youth collaborating with Oceana to achieve even more for enhancing food and nutrition security and hold accountable those who are pillaging the vastly threatened marine resources of our nation,” added Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Oceana Philippines vice president./ CAV

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