The marine-conservation and reef fisheries–management program that exists today in the Philippines had humble beginnings in the 1970s at Sumilon and Apo islands. These islands have produced some of the best evidence available that no-take reserves, protected and managed by local communities, can play a key role in biodiversity conservation and fisheries management. Perhaps more importantly, they served as models for an extraordinary expansion of no-take reserves nationally in the Philippines in the past 2 decades. This expansion contributed substantially to a major shift in national policy of management of marine resources. This policy shift partially devolved responsibility from a centralized government bureaucracy to local governments and local communities. Local governments now comanage, along with the national government, marine resources out to 15 km from the coast. Giving some responsibility for management of marine resources to coastal people dependent upon those resources represents, in a very real sense, another “people power revolution” in the Philippines.
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Vol. 35 • No. 5