Friday, September 26, 2008

Community Based Marine Conservation

by Charles Roring
The cheapest way to protect our sea environment is by asking the participation of local coastal communities. They are the ones who live near the waters where the reefs need protection and restoration.
Marine conservation and coral reefs protection have increasingly become hot issues in seminar and conferences. Governments, NGOs and businesses show their concern over the rapid destruction of our sea environment. Programs such as coastal zone management, reefs rehabilitation and sustainable fishing are not new terms anymore. Newspapers, televisions and radios have launched the discussions of such topics since the past few years.
Marine conservation programs will only succeed if they are supported by local communities. Governments, NGOs and businesses need the participation and support of coastal communities. Traditionally, they have practiced their own local wisdoms in protecting coral reefs since ancient times. They are the key stakeholder group who mostly rely on coral reefs resources for their livelihood.
Local communities can be involved in coral reef conservation projects. Fishermen can use their boats to patrol around certain protected area. Coastal villagers can do regular beach clean-ups. Government can also hire them as officers who will be responsible for the management of marine protected areas. To reduce unemployment among the coastal villagers, hotel and resort owners should train and hire local people.

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