The communities of Cagayancillo receive ten percent of the annual tourism revenue from Tubbataha. Through these funds, the TPAMB is able to support sustainable coastal resource management strategies and alternative livelihood projects.
Livelihood initiatives and funding are managed by the municipal government of Cagayancillo .
With the help of WWF-Philippines, the TPAMB set up a micro-credit facility to support livelihood activities. So far, funds have been used for the construction of a key road connecting communities to the market. Seaweed farming is being encouraged, as an alternative to fishing, and farmers are given loans as well as marketing support for their new businesses. Small, individual loans are also made for education, health, emergency needs and basic commodities such as rice and fuel.
Boosting the Sea’s Bounty
The livelihood fund was the first and most direct compensation for Cagayanons, since they could no longer fish the waters of Tubbataha. However, from the time that Tubbataha became a “no-take” zone, Cagayanon fishermen started to observe increased fish catch in surrounding waters. They soon began to view marine reserves as a way to increase the productivity of local reefs. Once they understood the benefits of a marine protected area, they declared marine reserves in their own municipality.
In this way, Cagayanons have been empowered to protect and manage their own reefs and contribute to wider efforts to save coral reefs in the Sulu Sea.