Coral restoration in the Philippines: Interactions with key coastal sectors

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Journal Article
Ocean and Coastal Management, 2023, 246, pp. 1-10
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Much work on coral restoration to date has focused on experimenting with diverse technical approaches and techniques. As the implementation of coral restoration globally increases, it is increasingly recognized that there is a need to better understand how to govern this emerging technology effectively, which requires assessing the social, economic and political contexts in which reefs are restored. This study examined the interactions (both current and potential) between the dominant economic sectors in coastal Philippines and coral restoration. Informed by ongoing coral restoration efforts in Pangasinan province, the paper draws on social data collection of the major coastal economic sectors in the province. Large-scale aquaculture of milkfish generates significant challenges to existing and new efforts at coral restoration as the industry is poorly regulated and environmentally damaging. Destructive fishing methods persist due to weak enforcement capacities and likewise pose challenges to coral restoration. Tourism, as an increasingly important economic activity in the region, potentially provides synergies between coral restoration and local economies. This study highlights that interactions between these business sectors and organisations working to protect coral reefs will go a long way to shaping the eventual governability and sustainability of coral restoration projects. Future reef restoration initiatives need to understand the interactions and dynamics of these sectors in specific contexts, and to identify strategies to manage them for the restoration interventions to work effectively and ultimately generate sustained benefits.
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