Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Paper 11: Collaborative and Community-based Management of Coral Reef Resources: Lessons from the Sri Lanka and The Phillipines - By Allan T. White, Coastal Resources Management Project No.1, Gower Street, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka


Integrated management of coral reef resources is being tested in several Asian countries with useful lessons for the Integrated Reef Resources Management Programme in the Maldives. In the early 1980's several Philippine projects developed coral reef management regimes on small islands which have continued to the present. These management regimes were developed by and for island residents dependent on their coral reef resources. They set up marine reserves and sanctuaries around their islands which have continued to the present. These management regimes were developed by and for island residents dependent on their coral reef resources. They set up marine reserves and sanctuaries around their islands in a manner which stopped all destructive and illegal fishing and so that sanctuary areas were declared off limits to all fishing. Monitoring of the effects of the sanctuaries documented improvements in the abundance and diversity of fishes on the coral reef and in fish yields to the island fishermen. The process for implementation of the management regime included several steps: integration into the community; education; core resource management group building; and formalizing and strengthening organizations for sustainable resources management.

In Sri Lanka, a similar process is being adapted to more comprehensive coastal resources management in "Special Area Management" sites. Communities, local and national government are working together to develop and implement management plans for sustainable use of their coastal resources. "Special Area Management Coordinating Committees" for the site include all stakeholders in the process of planning and taking responsible action for implementation. Monitoring of physical and socio-economic effects on the environment and human community is performed by several research organizations and through local participation.

Results from the Philippine and Sri Lankan examples include stewardship of coral reef and other coastal resources, and functioning formal management organizations comprised of both community members and government. Also, both national governments recognize the value of locally-based action and decision-making in coral reef conservation.


The Maldives, with over 800 small vegetated coral islands in the Indian Ocean, is dependent on its marine and coastal resources for livelihood (Shepherd 1995). Tourism and fisheries are the largest foreign exchange earners, and are equally dependent on the environmental quality of the reef and marine ecosystems and waters. Although tourism is increasing rapidly and currently provides 23.8 percent of the government revenue, fisheries have traditionally provided the main source of employment and protein in the country. Tourism and fisheries are economically and environmentally interdependent. They will increasingly require integrated management approaches to maintain sustainable yields offish products and the overall environmental quality needed to support both fisheries and tourism.

The Government of the Maldives is responding to the coastal resources management challenge through the initiation of an Integrated Reef Resources Management (IRRM) Programme. Resource stakeholders, concerned about changes in fishery use of reef resources, trends in the tourism industry, and the sustainability of the reef resources, will be part of the IRRM Programme. This policy of collaboration between private and government sectors in managing coastal resources is far-sighted and a prerequisite in addressing the issues of environment degradation. Since the IRRM Programme is still new in design, lessons from other parts of Asia may be useful in refining it.

Experience from outside the Maldives indicates that the only viable manner to institute integrated coastal resources management is with the involvement of resource users and government together in a collaborative arrangement (White et al 1994). And, management regimes must be closely connected to the ecosystem and resources of concern so that actions are appropriate and linked to actual needs. Public participation in the decision-making process helps to ensure that long-term implementation will continue after initial planning.

This paper highlights lessons being learned in the Philippines and Sri Lanka concerning the implementation of coral reef and coastal resources management which are relevant for the development of the IRRM Programme in the Maldives. A case study of 3 islands in Central Visayas, Philippines illustrates the process of organising and monitoring a community-based program for coral reef conservation. Another case study from Sri Lanka shows how Special Area Management is being implemented with the collaboration of national and local governments and with full participation of community stakeholders organizations. It also shows how a localized management program must be part of a larger, more comprehensive national planning and management effort, for long term success and sustainability to occur.



Fisheries are an important sector of the national economy of the Philippines which is ranked 13th in the world fish production. Approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the total yield of fishes in the country is taken from coral reefs (Murdy and Ferraris, 1980). About 27,000 sq km of coral reef area exists which is only considered pristine in a few remote areas but seriously degraded or destroyed in many other areas of intense fishing (Yap and Gomez 1986; White 1987a; Arquiza and White 1994).

The country with its extensive coastline and concentration of people in coastal areas is experimenting with various forms of coastal management. One approach which has proved effective for coral reefs surrounding small islands and along some large island shorelines is a marine reserve and sanctuary model which encourages local communities to be responsible for their fishery and coral reef resources. This reserve model includes limited protection for the coral reef and fishery surrounding the entire island and strict protection from all extraction or damaging activities in a small "sanctuary" normally covering up to 20 percent of the coral reef area (White 1988a; Christie et al 1994). This reserve and sanctuary approach has provided real benefits to local fishing communities through increased or stable fish yields from coral reefs which are maintained and protected (Alcala and Russ 1990; White 1989).

The results of a two-year program on three islands that initiated a community-based management program in 1985 which is still functioning without significant outside support is described. The Marine Conservation and Development Programme (MCDP) was designed to enable local communities to protect and/or enhance their marine resources. At the heart of the project was the initiation of local marine management programs, in the form of marine reserves and sanctuaries, in three fishing communities - on Apo Island, Negros, and Pamilacan and Balicasag Islands, Bohol (White et al 1986; White and Savina 1987a).

Silliman University in Dumaguete, Negros, implemented the MCDP which grew out of a similar program initiated at Sumilon Island in 1974 (White 1987b; 1988a; and Alcala and Russ 1990).

The Problem

Destruction of coral reef habitants, over-fishing and a consequent decline in fish catches plague small-scale fishermen throughout the Philippines (White 1987a). The households on Apo (88), Pamilacan (168) and Balicasag (62) were all suffering from deterioration of their marine environment in 1985 at the outset of the MCDP (White et al 1986). Although each island had a different set of specific problems, in general, fishing methods, usually by outsiders, using explosives, fish mesh nets, scare-in techniques, poisons and spears were common on their coral reefs. Fish catches were declining along with disposable income derived from sales of valuable fish. Increasing poverty was forcing people to use more efficient and destructive fishing methods (Savina and White 1986).

The approach taken by the MCDP is based on the premise that resource management and conservation must be rooted in local communities. The general objective of the MCDP included (White et at 1986);

1. Implementation of marine resource management programs at the three sites by setting up marine reserves with fish sanctuaries and buffer areas surrounding the islands to prevent destructive fishing; increase the abundance and diversity of coral reef fish at the island; and increase long-term fish yields.

2. Community development programs to establish working groups of local people for accomplishing marine resource management; alternative livelihood projects; and a community education center and rest area adjacent to the marine sanctuary for local education, reef monitoring and recreation-tourism.

3. An outreach and replication component to extend programs to several neighbouring fishing communities and establish linkages with other local and national organizations and individuals concerned with marine conservation/management problems and solutions.

Management Solution and Implementation

Implementation at the three project sites of the MCDP included five groups of activities (White and Savina 1987a). The activity groups provide a framework for the community development plan leading to marine resource management and aid in clarifying the progression of events (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Phases and activities in community-based marine resource management (Buhat 1994)

Basis for Change >

Process of Change

> Desired Change

Preparation >

Integration with > Community

Community > Education

Reserve > Establishment

Strengthening/> Supporting Project and Management

Evaluation and Phaseout and Replication


Courtesy calls

Feedback from surveys for validation and planning

Core group formation

Refinement of management schemes

Feedback of results and assessments

Collection of preliminary data

Establishment of working relationships and trust

Feedback from surveys for validation and planning

Broadening of conservation strategies

Reflection sessions

Conceptualization of project

Community integration

Continual community education via interaction and forums

Formation of subcommittees based on identified needs and tasks

Training of second-liners

Community evaluation

Project proposal preparation

Project orientation and dialogue with people

Continual community education

Advanced training for first-liners

Agency evaluation

Tapping of resources (financial, technical, and legal)

Project launching

Training and seminars on leadership

Formulation of management schemes

Building alliances linkages, and networks

Long-term planning

Hiring of staff

Clarification of roles between the community and line agencies, formalization of working relation

Formal and informal presentations on ecology and environment

Implementation of plans for projects

Other livelihood options

Formal turnover of responsibility

Training and orientation of staff

Participation in community life

Completion and validation of baseline data

Training and seminars on leadership

Extension to adjacent communities using core group

Modified relations between community and agency

Collection of baseline data

Formalization of the group

Continuing outside institutional moral support

Identification of potential leaders

Updates or additions to baseline data

1. Integration into the community. The Project had a three-month initial period. The field workers moved into the community, introduced the project, met with community leaders, attended community meetings and generally became acculturated to the island situation with its particular problems. Baseline data for later project evaluation were collected. Carried out were socioeconomic and demographic surveys; a pretest of environmental and resource knowledge and perceived problems of local people; and an environmental survey to document the status of the coral reefs by means of substrate cover, fish diversity and abundances of several other indicators. This integration process provided information necessary for planning ongoing project activities particular to each site, both with respect to the community and the marine environment.

2.Education. Education was continuous throughout the project but emphasized in the initial stages. Most forms of education were non-formal, in small groups and by one-on-one contact. Focus was on marine ecology and resource management rationale and methods.

3. Core group building. Identifying existing community groups and facilitating the formation of new groups was a central focus of MCDP field activities. During the education process, community problems and their potential solutions emerged. Also, the logical manner to implement management solutions was through special island work groups with close ties to the existing traditional island political structure. Since the project intended to provide funds for a community education center adjacent to the marine sanctuary, the first group to emerge was the one responsible for the center construction. Similarly as the concept for the marine reserve took shape, those individuals interested in the problem of marine conservation formed in each island an organization called the "marine management committee" (MMC). The MMCs matured into working groups with community respect once it was decided to implement a marine reserve management scheme for the island.

4. Formalizing and 5. Strengthening organizations. These last two steps are difficult to separate. The main theme was to provide continuing support, in real and symbolic terms, to the core group and its management efforts. This was accomplished by helping the group identify new projects such as reforestation, placing giant clams in the fish sanctuary for mariculture, refining the marine reserve guidelines, training of MMC members for guiding tourists to the island, collecting fees for entrance to the sanctuary and initiating alternative income schemes such as mat weaving. In addition, Apo has become a training site whereby the MMC helps conduct workshops by sharing their experiences from the Apo success with the fishermen groups. This activity has truly strengthened the core group and solidified support for the marine reserve among the community.

The results of the MCDP have been substantial. Three island-wide marine reserves with municipal legal support exist. The reserves with some local variations are demarked by buoys and signs and managed by island-resident committees which patrol for rule infractions by local residents or outsiders. Municipal ordinances, tailored by the communities in conjunction with the MCDP expertise to suit their particular needs and their coral reefs, are posted on the islands in the local language and published in a brochure.

Enforcement varies on each island. Its effectiveness depends on individual and group dedication. On each island, some active, but mostly moral, support has been received from the Philippine police and Silliman University.

Community education centers function and serve as a meeting place for the MMCs and other groups. On Apo Island, a typhoon destroyed the community education center in 1989 which has since been rebuilt with community labour and some outside assistance with materials. Diving tourism to both Apo and Balicasag Island has increased significantly in response to the sanctuaries which are teeming with fish.

Fishermen members of the three island MMCs in 1992 all said that the marine reserve and sanctuary on their island had caused no decrease in fish catch or personal income since establishment of the reserves, and most believed the sanctuary had significantly improved fishing. They all said that the sanctuary served as a "semilyahan" (breeding place) for fish (White and Calumpong 1992). Fish yield studies in the fishing areas outside the sanctuaries indicate that yields have been at least stable and probably increased at Apo Island which had a yield of more than 30 tons per sq km in 1986, more than the yield measured by a similar study done in 1981 (Alcala and Luchavaez 1981; White and Savina 1987b).

Comparison of baseline data of 1985 and 1986 with a survey made in 1992 shows an increase in fish diversity and abundances within the fish sanctuary at Apo Island (Table 1). Equally, the coral reef bottom substrate cover in the sanctuary and non-sanctuary areas of the three islands has remained stable and improved slightly since 1984 which is generally not the case for other coral reef areas in the Philippines.

Table 1. Increases in species richness and abundance of selected reef fishes for 500 sq.m. of reef sampled in the Apo Island marine sanctuary in 1986 and 1992*



Percent Increase

Species richness





Food fishes




Total fishes




Data from: White 1988b; White and Calumpong 1992

* Samples consisted of 19 families offish and totals representing the mean of 5 replicate samples in both years using the same methodology by the same observer

Lessons Learned

Many lessons have emerged from the MCDP experience in small-scale coastal management, but it is uncertain how broadly they can be applied. The small island and community setting may be critical to the success of such a program. Nevertheless, a summary of pointers drawn from the MCDP will be of value for similar programs.

1. It is possible to manage small island coral reef resources in a manner which benefits local users arid those interested in sustainable resource use. Benefits measured in terms offish catch and quality of the coral reef can be accrued with the installation of a regime which: (1) prevents destructive uses of the resource and insures that only ecologically sound fishing methods are permitted; (2) limits the fishing effort by establishing a marine reserve inclusive of a sanctuary where no fishing or collecting is allowed; and (3) monitors the impact of the management and feeds back the results to the resource users in the form of understandable information and real life benefits (White and Savina 1987a).

2. Small islands provide a geographical advantage to marine resource management because of decreased access to people not living on the island. In addition, the island community can more easily identify with its own marine resources, as it becomes a territory over which it has some control. This advantage is lost on mainland coasts unless each segment of the coast is parcelled out to local residents (White et all 986).

3. People must see some immediate results from their management efforts if they are to continue a management program intended to improve their marine environment. Education can provide the initial understanding of why a program is needed, but only observable results can sustain a program (White 1989).

4. Complete and practical environmental and resource use surveys and analyses are a prerequisite to helping a community decide on a feasible management plan which can offer tangible results (Calumpong 1993; Christie and White 1994).

5. Local fishermen can decide on the size and location of a marine sanctuary with the assistance of community organizers and technical inputs from marine scientists in a mutually supportive and open manner for discussion and negotiation.

6. Local residents must understand how a management program will solve a problem they think is important. For example, if they see no links between a physically disturbed coral reef habitat and decreased fish catches, they will not take action to improve the reef quality. This obvious point is not trivial since most people on these islands believed initially that corals were just stones!

7. Formation of capable and respected community groups is critical for successful implementation of community resource management projects. This means more than simply a village chief approval. It requires groups working together on projects with real outputs.

8. Any coastal management project needs to consider linkages among all potential participants - community leaders, town mayor and council, local law enforcement officers, private business with local interests and national government organizations like tourism and fisheries.

9. Baseline data and monitoring of the coral reef resources are required to illustrate to fishermen the condition of their environment and to reinforce their management participation. Data on the increase in fish abundance and diversity have been used to convince policy-makers and government officials, both local and national, about the effectiveness of the marine reserve management.

10. Apparently successful management for small-scale settings such as the island coral reef fisheries is vulnerable to changes in local politics. Results are also sometimes dependent on moral and physical support from outside entities not obvious during the initial phase (White and Calumpong 1992; White 1987b).


Coastal Management in Sri Lanka

Unlike other Asian countries with extensive coastlines, Sri Lanka has a national coastal zone management program which is best described in the Coastal Zone Management Plan of 1990 (CCD 1990). This plan, supported by the Coastal Conservation Act of 1981, mandates the Coastal Conservation Department (CCD) to manage a coastal strip 300 m wide on land and 2 km out to sea. The thrust of the plan is to allow development within this narrow area while preventing unnecessary environmental degradation, pollution and erosion. This is accomplished through a regulatory system which governs most activities in the coastal zone.

Thus, Sri Lanka has a coastal program which protects the coastal environment, mostly through prevention of physical and polluting influences. But its plan does not cover the management of all coastal resources nor can the CCD coordinate coastal management among agencies with jurisdiction over resources outside of the legal coastal zone (Lowry and Sadacharan 1993). Now this is changing with a new set of policies, adopted by Cabinet in 1994, that promote a broader and more integrated coastal management system (Olsen et al 1992).

Broad Lesson from Coastal Management Efforts in Sri Lanka

One lesson which is emerging from the coastal management activities in Sri Lanka is that one or more successful area models are needed which produce tangible field results through sustainable management of coastal resources in one site. Key features which make up the field level intervention portion of an integrated effort for tropical Asian coastal programs and in Sri Lanka are to (Tobin and White 1992):

a. Select and support field implementation and intervention sites which test strategic interventions: act as models for replication; and inform policy.

b. Build capacity of individuals and institutions through 'learning by doing', training and national policy dialogue;

c. Develop a coastal environmental, socio-economic and legal-institution profile;

d. Develop a draft management plan for the site which is accomplished early through community and non-government sector participation with time for learning and refinement so the plan becomes a living document;

e. Encourage strategic information collection for management which is ongoing and focused on supplying the management plan with required supporting data;

f. Continue consultation with local government, communities and other relevant institutions during the course of the management program, as a basis for sustainability;

g. Promote feasibility studies and training of personnel for community projects and economic development alternatives;

h. Implement pilot projects, refine plan; and,

i. Evaluate and promote full community and national government assumption of responsibilities for continuous management efforts and replication in new sites in a manner which emphasizes monitoring.

Information flow is essential for an integrated coastal program which is designed to learn by doing and to refine the management plan through a monitoring and evaluation mechanism. It shown in Figure 2. This general system is functioning in Sri Lanka.

Figure 2. Cyclical coastal resources management data collection, monitoring, planning and implementation process (White and Lopez 1991)

Special Area Management for Sri Lankan Coastal Resources

Although Sri Lanka has a head start on integrated coastal management (ICM), it is striving to improve. The Coast Conservation Department and other agencies are concerned with mobilizing and gaining the support and commitment of the local community for implementation (White and Samarakoon 1994). Inadequate participation by local communities in the planning and implementation processes has contributed to poor results in the past. Also, the financial and social benefits of improved resource management have not been understood or demonstrated. Hence, local communities do not perceive themselves as beneficiaries. Finally, program implementation by state officials who do not communicate well with local leaders is often viewed as interference by outsiders (Wickremeratne and White 1992). These problems have led to experimentation with "Special Area Management " (SAM) which is being adopted (see Box 1).

Box 1. What is Special Area Management?

"SAM is a means to achieve resource management within a defined geographical setting. It can resolve user conflicts and provide predictability for decisions affecting conservation and development interests. It allows integrated management which includes complex ecological and institutional settings not possible to deal with in a larger context. It can use and apply criteria for management of resources which are sustainable because the cause and effect factors can be understood within the geographical, ecological and institutional scope of concern.

"The basic premise of the SAM process is that it is possible to organize local communities to manage their natural resources and that they will continue to do so if they perceive that they derive tangible benefits from better management. The planner, the planning agency or the organization group play only a catalytic role in organizing the local community. They can provide technical and financial support for the management effort which is formulated and implemented as a local community and/or local government effort.

"Community participation is possible in SAM planning and implementation to a degree not possible in border area planning. Whether SAM planning is initiated by an outside national or local government or private organization it must inherently involve people living within the SAM site. It looks at and considers the total ecosystem including the communities and their potential role in the process of planning and implementation. For successful management of natural resources within the context of a SAM site, implementation and monitoring becomes a local responsibility and reduces the need for outside support in the long-term" (White and Samarkoon 1994).

Special Area Management Process in Hikkaduwa

The densely developed Hikkaduwa tourist area is approximately 100 km south of Colombo and 150 km from the International Airport. The 4 km coastal strip bordering Hikkaduwa town is known for its coastal reefs, beaches, waves and relatively clean marine waters. An area of about 100 ha with coral reef and marine life comprise the Marine Sanctuary, one of two in the country. Other attractions are the pleasing physical and social environment of the town and people. These resources attracted more than 300,000 guest-nights to Hikkaduwa in 1992 (White et al 1996).

Although tourism in Hikkaduwa has been successfully developed over the last three decades, recent trends of arrivals to Hikkaduwa are discouraging. The most important reason is that Hikkaduwa has not maintained the quality of its natural coastal environment. Unplanned and uncoordinated development is causing degradation of the coral reef, declining coastal water quality, sedimentation of the reef, inadequate solid waste disposal, coastal erosion, inadequate anchorage facilities for fishing boats, increasing traffic congestion and conflicts between different user groups (Nakatani et al 1994). In addition, coral mining, a socio-economic and environmental problem, continues outside of the marine sanctuary but near Hikkaduwa.

A recent study indicates that the marine sanctuary is still suitable for recreational use and for the healthy growth of corals. But, a continuation or increase of present levels of pollution will threaten the water quality and its recreational value (Nakatani et al 1994; De Alwis et al 1994). Surveys in 1985,1992 and 1994 assessed the condition of the coral reef and found that the effects of anchoring boats within the reef lagoon, use of glass bottom boats, discharging waste water from hotels and prevalence of reef walking have adversely affected the coral reef (Rajasuriya 1994).

The overall outcome is degradation of environment, lowered biodiversity and losses to the tourism dependent economy. The environmental problems are decreasing the competitiveness of Hikkaduwa with beach resorts elsewhere in Sri Lanka and Asia.

In 1992, Hikkaduwa was selected as one of two Special Area Management sites under the Coast Conservation Department and the Coastal Resources Management Project of the University of Rhode Island. The planning process is locally based and participatory. An economic valuation was made of the local tourism industry costs and benefits, and the key coastal resources, to develop a framework for justifying managing the coastal resources which support tourism.

As part of the overall intervention package for Hikkaduwa, Special Area Management has been applied to develop and implement an integrated coastal management plan. This process included the development of an environmental profile; collecting essential data; educating and organizing the local community; developing a collaborative management plan and incorporating resource economics as a tool for developing management policy. The SAM planning process integrates the local community at the center of the planning and implementation effort, thereby making them the custodian of the resources being managed.

The ongoing process for the Hikkaduwa town and marine sanctuary focuses on the collaboration of the local communities and government with national government agencies in the formulation of a management plan for the area. The plan includes short-term implementation projects deemed desirable by all participants. The process mediates amongst the competing users and builds a consensus on what use(s) can be harmonious and in accordance with national policies for coastal management. Steps in the process of the ongoing SAM planning in Hikkaduwa are shown in Figure 3 and include:

a. Agreement on need for SAM process at national level.

b. Compile an Environmental Profile of the area and determine the priority management issues.

c. Enter the community with full-time professional facilitators and community organizers to liaise with community stakeholders, organize education programs, facilitate the planning process and to organize core resource management groups on a case-by-case basis.

d. Conduct planning-cum-training workshops in the SAM site.

e. Organize resource management core groups.

f. Draft management plan through community involvement, determine indicators for monitoring and conduct cost-benefit analysis.

g. Implement pilot projects while planning continues.

h. Refine management plan from experience and broaden implementation.

i. Review and refine institutional arrangements for implementation that can only evolve as part of the SAM process because they are closely tied to the local situation for a given place and time.

Figure 3. Special Area Management process for Hikkaduwa (White et al 1996)

The planning focus for Hikkaduwa is on improved management of the marine sanctuary, the beaches, town infrastructure and development of tourism. Stakeholders active in the planning process include large and small tourism establishments, fishermen, tourist guides, glass-bottom boat owners, local government and national agency representatives. The "Hikkaduwa Special Area Management/Marine Sanctuary Coordinating Committee", meets monthly to refine the plan and to coordinate implementation of pilot projects.

Lessons from Special Area Management in Sri Lanka

Hikkaduwa and its marine sanctuary are representative of the issues facing many coastal areas in tropical Asia where tourism and coastal development have nearly ruined valuable coastal resources. Visitors say that they want a clean and ecologically healthy environment, otherwise they will go elsewhere. The question answered favourably in the Special Area analysis is whether or not the tourism industry, the town and the national government can economically justify the rehabilitation and conservation of the coastal environment of Hikkaduwa (White et al 1996). Also, a process for implementing this rehabilitation program is ongoing along with the economic analysis intended to bring more policy and financial support to management.

The potential of SAM as part of a national ICM program is that it can manage complex situations and consider the whole ecosystem including its human participants and political forces. The SAM plan can grapple with management concerns for a given geographical area, such as in Hikkaduwa, in a systematic and focused manner. Although new to Sri Lanka, the SAM process of joint efforts by national and local government working collaboratively with community groups holds a large potential for improved coastal management.

Special area management in Sri Lanka offers no single recipe for success. Yet, it holds potential for promoting an agenda of sustainable development that ensures that stakeholders, government and non-government are part of the decision process. It also enables a systematic analysis of the total environment and its resources to be incorporated into a management plan for action. The plan is then economically evaluated in a manner which clearly shows its viability. In the case of the Hikkaduwa SAM plan, wise planning and action combined with community, national and international support is leading to sustainable win-win outcomes.

Recommendations for the IRRM Programme in Maldives

The two case studies suggest design considerations and actions which will be important for the long-term success of the IRRM Programme in the Maldives. Major implications include:

1. Fishing communities will not necessarily take on the role of resource managers without some assistance and encouragement. Although economic and social benefits are often key motivating factors, these may need to be triggered through a number of interventions and actions before communities can conceptualize and perform resource management functions. Interventions which strengthen community motivation and capacity for reef management will include (White et al 1994):

· Research and documentation of popular knowledge of resource management and ecology that exist.

· Definition and establishment of the legal instruments that formalize community responsibility, preserve traditional rights of use and access, and enhance local benefits.

· Promotion of community participation, representation, and involvement in planning and decision making related to reef management.

· Building and developing community institutions and awareness through organization, training and technical assistance.

2. A process of change within a resource user and management community must be guided and monitored to achieve effective reef conservation. This process is summarized in Figure 4.

3. Collaborative management implies that government agencies work together with and are supportive of community groups in their role to implement a management regime.

4. Success should be measured through monitoring of both process and ground results to determine whether there is movement towards sustainable use of reef resources. Possible parameters for documentation and measurement with community involvement in the process include: condition and health of the coral reef (substrate cover, fish diversity and abundance, density of indicator species such as butterflyfish species and fish yield from a particular reef area); changes in family income levels and patterns of livelihood or reef resources use; presence of legal and institutional instruments for management; level of participation in the resource management process; changes in the level of knowledge about the coral reef/island ecosystem and its management; and presence or absence of threats to ecosystem condition and management status.

Figure 4. Framework for community-based marine resource management (White et al 1994)

A key factor for success of the IRRM Programme will be the development of goodwill between the national government agencies in the Maldives and the local government, village chiefs and community fishermen organizations. This goodwill will necessarily include working together for mutually shared objectives of coral reef conservation. Benefits of reef conservation must serve both local and national interests. Management actions must be tailored to the site-specific situation, given variations in human capacity, motivation and the needs of the local coral reef/island environment.


Work in the Philippines was made possible by a long-term association with Silliman University which has encouraged this kind of research. Dr. Angel Alcala and Dr. Nida Calumpong of Silliman have been very helpful in this regard. The East-West Center supported field research in 1983, the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) encouraged analyses of these findings, Earthwatch International supported a 1992 research expedition. Now the Coastal Resources Centre of the University of Rhode Island and USAID has provided support to revisit the Philippine sites and to implement and learn from the Special Area Management projects in Sri Lanka.


Alcala, A.C. and T. Luchavez. 1981. Fish yield of the coral reef surrounding Apo Island, Negros Oriental, Central Visayas, Philippines, p. 69-73. In Proceedings of the Fourth International Coral Reef Symposium, May, Manila, Vol. 1.

Alcala, A.C. and G.R. Russ 1990. A direct test of the effects of protective management on abundance and yield of tropical marine resources. J. Cons. int. Explor. Mer, 46: 40-47.

Arquiza, Y. and A.T. White 1994. Tales from Tubbataha: Natural History, Resource Use and Conservation of the Tubbataha Reefs, Palawan, Philippines. Bandillong Palawan Foundation Inc., Puerto Princesa, Philippines, 136 p.

Buhat, D. 1994. Community-Based Coral Reef and Fisheries Management, San Salvador Island, Philippines, pp.33-50, in: White, A.T., Hale, L.Z., Renard, Y., and L. Cortesi (eds) Collaborative and Community-Based Management of Coral Reefs. Lessons from Experience. Kumarian Press, West Hartford.

Calmpong, H. 1993. The Role of Academe in Community-based Coastal Resources Management: The case of Apo Island. Case Presentation 4, p. 49-57, In: Our Sea Our Life, Proceedings of the Seminar Workshop on Community-based coastal resources management, February 7-12, Dumaguete, Philippines.

Christie, P., White, A.T. and D. Buhat 1994. Reef Fish Yield and Reef Condition for San Salvador Island, Luzon, Philippines. Asian Fisheries Science Volume 7, pp. 135-148.

Christie, P., White, A.T. and D. Buhat 1994. Community-Based Coral Reef Management on San Salvador Island, the Philippines. Society and Natural Resources, Volume 7, pp. 103-117.

Coast Conservation Department (CCD) 1990. Coastal Zone Management Plan. 81 p. Coastal Resources Management Project of the University of Rhode Island and CCD, Colombo.

De Alwis, P., Dasanayake, H. and S. Azmy, 1994. Report on the Water Quality Aspects in Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary. 37 p. National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) and Coastal Resources Management Project (CRMP), Colombo.

Lowry, K. and D. Sadacharan 1993. Coastal Management in Sri Lanka. Coastal Management in Tropical Asia. No. 1, September, pp. 1-7, Colombo.

Murdy E. and C. Ferraris, 1980. The contribution of coral reef fisheries to Philippine fisheries production. ICLARM Newsletter, 6(1): 3-4, Manila.

Nakatani, K., Rajasuriya, A., Premaratne, A. and A.T. White (eds) 1994. The Coastal Environmental Profile of Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. Coastal Resources Management Project, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 70 p.

Olsen, S., Sadacharan, D., Samarakoon, J.I., White A.T., Wickremeratne, H.J.M. and M.S. Wijeratne,

(eds.) 1992. Coastal 2000: Recommendations for a Resource Management Strategy for Sri Lanka's Coastal Region, Volumes I and II. 81 and 21 p. CRC Technical Report No. 2033, Coastal Conservation Department, Coastal Resources Management Project, Sri Lanka and Coastal Resources Centre, The University of Rhode Island, Colombo.

Rajasuriya, A. 1994. Report on the present status of the coral reef in the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary. National Aquatic Resource Agency and Coastal Resources Management Project, Colombo (unpublished).

Savina, G.C. and A.T. White. 1986. The tale of two islands: some lessons for marine resource management. Environmental Conservation. 13 (2): 107-113.

Shepherd, A.D. 1995. Maldives: A Framework for Marine Environmental Management. Coastal Management in Tropical Asia, No. 4, pp. 1-6.

Tobin R.J. and A.T. White 1992. A Southeast Asian Perspective on Sustainable Development. International Environmental Affairs, 4, pp. 50-65.

White, A.T. 1987a. Coral Reefs, Valuable Resources of Southeast Asia, ICLARM Education Series 1, 36 p. International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management, Manila.

White, A.T. 1987b. Philippine Marine Park Pilot Site: Benefits and Management Conflicts. Environmental Conservation, Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 355-359.

White, A.T. 1988a. Marine parks and reserves: management for coastal environments in southeast Asia. International Center for Living Aquatic Resources management, Manila, Philippines.

White, A.T. 1988b. The effect of community-managed marine reserves in the Philippines on their associated coral reef fish populations. Asian Fisheries Science. 1(2):27-42.

White, A.T. 1989. Two Community-based Marine Reserves: Lessons for Coastal Management, p. 85-96. In T.-E. Chua and D. Pauly (eds.) Coastal area management in southeast Asia: policies, management strategies and case studies. ICLARM Conference proceedings 19, 254 p. Manila.

White, A.T. and H. Calumpong 1992. Saving Tubbataha Reefs and monitoring marine reserves in the Central Visayas. Summary Field Report, Earthwatch Expedition, Philippines, April-May 1992, unpublished.

White, A., Delfin, E. and F. Tiempo 1986. The Marine Conservation and Development Program of Silliman University, Philippines. Tropical Coastal Area Management, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 1-4, Manila.

White, A.T., Hale, L.Z., Renard, Y. and L. Cortesi (eds) 1994. Collaborative and Community-Based Management of Coral Reefs, Lessons from Experience. Kumarian Press, West Hartford, 130 p.

White, A.T. and N. Lopez 1991. Coastal Resources Management Planning and Implementation for the Fishery Sector Program of the Philippines. Proceedings of the 7th Symposium on Coastal and Ocean Management, 8-12 July, Long Beach, pp. 762-775.

White, A.T. and J.I. Samarakoon 1994. Special Area Management for Coastal Resources: A First for Sri Lanka. Coastal Management in Tropical Asia. No. 2, P. 20-24, Colombo.

White, A.T. and G.C. Savina 1987a. Community-Based Marine Reserves, A Philippine First, p. 2022-2036. In Proceedings of Coastal Zone '87, 26-30 May. Seattle.

White, A.T. and G.C. Savina 1987b. Reef fish yield and nonreef catch of Apo Island, Negros, Philippines. Asian Marine Biology. 4:67-76.

Wickremeratne, H.J.M. and A.T. White 1992. Concept paper on Special Area Management for Sri Lankan Coasts. Coastal Resources Management Project Working Paper No. 10-92, Colombo.

Yap, H.T. and E.D. Gomez 1986. Coral reef degradation and pollution in the East Asian Seas region. Environmental and resources in the Pacific. UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No.69.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page