10. Status of Coastal and Marine Resources: Implications for Fisheries Management and Poverty in Southeast Asia
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Status of coastal and marine resources 199 10 Status of coastal and marine resources: Implications for fisheries management and poverty in Southeast Asia Alan T. White a ABSTRACT The coastal and marine resources in Southeast Asia are unequalled in density and diversity by those in other parts of the world. Fisheries from the region supply about 10 per cent of global fish catch. Over the last 20 to 30 years, these resources have been under threat of overexploitation, destruction, and extinction in some areas. This paper reviews the status of the most important coastal and marine resources in Southeast Asia; and highlights the primary threats to their sustainable use and existence. The dependency of coastal human populations on near-shore fisheries and resources is discussed in relation to the economic consequences of poor management of these resources. Finally, promising management strategies and governance systems from the Philippines are explored in terms of their implications on future research topics relevant to building sustainable fisheries. Research topics suggested include: 1) Continuous monitoring of the biophysical status of coastal resources so that policy makers are aware of the progress (or lack thereof) of protection and rehabilitation efforts; 2) Cost-benefit analysis of the management of coastal resources and fisheries; 3) Investigating the causes of resource degradation from pollution and other impacts on the coastal environment; 4) Understanding the tradeoffs between small and large scale fisheries in Southeast Asia; 5) Testing models for integrated coastal a Scientist – Global Marine Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, USA. (Correspondence: ) Fisheries&Poverty book.indb 199 10/28/08 3:32:43 PM Alan T. White 200 and ecosystem-based management including fisheries and economic development; 6) Testing ways to develop alternative economies for small-scale fishers that reinforce protection and management; 7) Augmenting and refining the integrated paradigms for management that put small-scale fisheries at the centre of a complex management problem; and, 8) Learning more about how to build capacity for management. Introduction The coastal and marine resources in Southeast Asia1 are unequalled in density and diversity by those in other parts of the world (Figure 10.1). It is well known that these tropical coastal areas are rich in coastal and marine ecosystems comprised of coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries, beaches, and their associated fisheries. Fisheries from the region supply about 10 per cent of global fish catch. It is equally known that over the last 20 to 30 years, these resources have been under threat of overexploitation, destruction, and extinction in some areas. This paper aims to briefly review the status of the most important coastal and marine resources in Southeast Asia; and highlight the primary threats to their sustainable use and existence. The dependency of coastal human populations on nearshore fisheries and resources is discussed in relation to the economic consequences of poor management of these resources. Finally, promising management strategies and governance systems from the Philippines are explored in terms of their implications on future research topics relevant to building sustainable fisheries in Southeast Asia. Fisheries&Poverty book.indb 200 10/28/08 3:32:43 PM Status of coastal and marine resources 201 Figure 10.1 Southeast Asian countries all have coasts except for Laos Status of Coastal and Marine Resources The condition of coastal ecosystems and fisheries in Southeast Asia is generally declining due to numerous factors as highlighted by many studies over the last 20 years (Burke et al 2002; Pauly et al. 2002; Stobutzki et al. 2006a, b). Fisheries trends in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand have been assessed by Stobutzki et al. (2006a). A time series of scientific trawl survey data (spanning 12-49 years) was employed to study changes in the total biomass of demersal species over time. These trends are shown in Table 1. All countries in the study showed large declines in total biomass, ranging from 32 per cent to 96 per cent in relation to the estimated original biomass. The Gulf of Thailand is particularly ominous with only about 8 per cent of its original biomass remaining, as measured in the 1960s (Figure 10.2). This well documented case of fisheries decline in Thailand is due to the systematic and relentless commercial trawl fishing in the Gulf (Stobutzki et al. 2006a, b). In the Philippines, catch per unit effort for smallscale fisheries has also declined to less than 2 kilograms per fisher per day (Figure 10.3). In the 3 countries, exploitation ratios (fishing mortality: total Fisheries&Poverty book.indb 201 10/28/08 3:32:44 PM...


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