Marine Biodiversity is one of the assets of the Philippines, and because of this, the country bear the title of the “Centre of Marine biodiversity”. But as timed passed by, little by little, this asset is being disturbed because of human deeds, and if the authorities didn’t do something, the once known asset may turn into a burden for us. This study will focus on the effectiveness of the laws being implemented by the government and to test whether the laws are being implemented strictly or not.
There are four major problems encountered in the preservation of marine biodiversity.
According to Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (2004) the main problems encountered in the preservation of the country’s marine biodiversity are Overfishing, Pollution, Deforestation, and Global climate change. Overfishing or over exploitation is the removal of marine living resources to levels that cannot sustain viable population. Ultimately, overfishing can lead to resource depletion and put a number of threatened and endangered species at risk for extinction.
Jennings, S. and Kaiser, M. J. (1998) suggest that the rapid growth in human population has lead to an overexploitation of marine living resources to meet the increasing demand for food. All fishing activities, if not conducted in a sustainable non-destructive manner, can lead to overexploitation of marine living resources. Overexploitation of marine resources has major impacts on marine biodiversity as a whole, but target species are generally the most impacted.
Pollution is the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine biodiversity resulting in the deleterious effects of such nature as to endanger human health, harm to living resources and ecosystems. Only about 10% of sewage in the Philippines is treated or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. The rest goes back to nature usually the sea. In this context of poor waste treatment and high population growth, water pollution is a growing problem for the country’s groundwater, rivers, lakes, and coastal areas.
Polluting industrial material is also found in abandoned mining areas, with mercury pollution affecting water bodies in this area. These problems are unfolding in a context of poor planning, and weak management and enforcement of regulations. The Deforestation, after decades of deforestation, which has left about 3% of the original cover, forests continue to be under threat from agriculture and urbanization, illegal logging and forest fires. Sustained forest loss in the Philippines is causing severe soil erosion, and is threatening the country’s rich biodiversity.
This is particularly worrying as many of the Philippines’ species, which depend on these forests, are endemic (they cannot be found anywhere else in the world). For example, of 180 native terrestrial mammal species here, about 61% are endemic. Inconsistent laws, inadequate regulations, weak enforcement and lack of funding are making forest conservation a major challenge. Global climate change is one of the problems encountered in the preservation of marine biodiversity.
Global climate change affects the marine life such as, coral bleaching is one of the most visually dramatic effects of global climate change it is a stress response caused by high water temperatures that can lead to coral death, rising temperature affects the life of the marine species because they marine species live on a certain temperature so when there is rise in temperature fishes may tend to look for other places or they will suddenly die, rising sea levels will have serious impacts on marine ecosystems.
The amount of light reaching offshore plants and algae dependent on photosynthesis could be reduced and acidic oceans that affect the fish, squid, and other gilled marine animals may find it harder to breathe, as the dissolved oxygen essential for their life becomes difficult to extract as water becomes more acidic. And shellfish, crabs, lobsters, and corals may find it more difficult to build their calcium carbonate shells.
The Philippines is one of the leading countries when it comes to the number of laws being implemented when it comes to the protection of Marine Biodiversity, but, According to Personal Communication (June 1, 2012) “The government is implementing laws on protecting marine life, but not all of them are efficient and implemented strictly” this shows the sad truth that this country is also one of the worst countries when it comes to implementation of laws, that’s why, many violators would still commit the same deed, even though they are ordered to stop by the Government.
There are many laws being implemented by the Government and these laws are enough. The Government only needs to implement the laws more strictly and give the right sanctions to the violators. The most common laws are the R. A. 8550 or “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF THE FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES, INTEGRATING ALL LAWS PERTINENT THERETO, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” and the R. A. 9147 or the “WILDLIFE RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION ACT: ENSURING ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY”. These two is the most common laws when it comes on the marine biodiversity.
These two also talks about on protecting the marine biodiversity and acts on how to preserve the marine biodiversity. Republic Act 8550 talks about having the Food security as the overriding consideration in the utilization, management, protection and preservation of the aquatic resources in order to supply the needs of the population. This Law also limits the hands of the foreign land in the country’s Marine Biodiversity, in order to maximize the marine biodiversity of this country and in order to satisfy the needs of this country.
This law also protects the rights of the fishermen, especially to those who are living in the local communities with the priority to the municipal fishermen, in the preferential use of the municipal waters. The law also help the fishermen, they give support to the fishery sector, and the fishery sector would give capital to those who wanted to be a fisherman, It also protect the rights of the fishermen and it also manages the aquatic resources in order to lengthen it’s life.
This Law ensures the Optimal Utilization of off shore and deep sea resources, upgrading of post-harvest technology, improvement of Aquaculture with the Ecological limits, Poverty alleviation, the provision of supplementary livelihood to the fishermen and the Conservation, Protection and sustained management of the Marine Biodiversity and Aquatic resources of the Country.
This law is being applied in all Philippine Waters including other waters over which the country has the Sovereignty and jurisdiction, together with the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (ECC), This act is also applied in all aquatic resources, whether it is inland, offshore or coastal fishing areas, including but not limited to the fish pens/cages, and fish ponds and lastly this law is being applied in all lands, either public or private, devoted to aquaculture, business and any activities relating to fishery, whether it is private or public.
The use and the exploitation of the fishery and Aquatic resources in the Philippines shall be reserved exclusively to the Filipinos however Research and Survey activities may be allowed under strict regulations that would also benefit Filipino Citizens. The Department shall issue license and permits for the exploitation and usage of the resources under the Philippine water, and for the Study and Research, The department shall issue numerous permits and licenses subject to the limits of the MSY of the resource as determine by scientific studies or best available studies.
The Secretary may prescribe the limit or quota to the number of fishes being captured, for a specific period of time and specific area based on the best evidence available. The Department also has the power to declare close seasons and take preservation and rehabilitation measures for rare, endangered and threatened species, as it may determine, and shall ban the fishing and taking of rare, endangered and threatened species, including their eggs and offsprings as identified by the existing laws in concurrence with concerned government agencies.
A monitoring, control and surveillance system shall be established by the Government in coordination of its department and agencies concerned to ensure that the fisheries and the aquatic resources in Philippine waters are wisely utilized and managed on a sustainable basis and conserved for the benefit exclusively of Filipino Citizens. This Law establish a national infrastructure unit complete with technologically advanced features and modern scientific equipment, which shall facilitate, and monitor the aquatic resources under the Philippine Sea.
No person shall exploit, capture fish, even fingerlings or engage in any fishery activity in Philippine waters without any license, lease or permit. Any Commercial Fishing boat captain or three highest officers of the boat violated this law shall be punished by a fine equivalent to the value of the catch or ten thousand pesos, whichever is higher, and imprisonment for about six months, confiscation of catch and fishing gears and revocation of their license. For the violators not listed in the registry of the municipal fisherfolk to engage in any commercial fishing activity in municipal waters.
Any municipal fisherfolk who violated this law shall be punished by confiscation of catch and fine worth five hundred pesos. Violation of this law for the foreign fishing vessel shall be punished by a fine of One hundred thousand U. S. Dollars, together with the confiscation of its catch, fishing equipments and fishing vessel. There are also some programs being implemented by the Government to protect the Marine Biodiversity of this country. Executive Order no 578 is one of the programs being implemented by the Government.
This order states that the laws must be implemented throughout the country particularly in the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecosystem and the Verde Island passage marine corridor. The Order states that marine biodiversity is essential so sustain all life and is foundation of a sound environment essential for human being and sustainable environment, The Philippines, as one of the 18 mega biodiversity countries that collectively make up two thirds of the earth’s biological biodiversity, is immensely rich in both terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
This program states that the protection of marine biodiversity will both lie on the hands of the Government officials and the public. It designates the places on where to focus more, what are the species that are endangered and must be protected strictly. This law also focuses more on the marine biodiversity found in Sulu. The Government officials provided the guidelines for the fishermen and the civilians on how they can protect the marine life, the government also gave funds to help the fisherman to start with their own livelihood, and educate them on how they can preserve the marine biodiversity.
There are also some programs being launched by different private sectors. One of which is the “Run for ilog Pasig”. This program is being launched by the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Kapit Bisig. This program was being launched by the ABS CBN Foundation last November 20, 2011. The distance needed to run is divided into three categories. The first category is the 3 Km, next is the 5km and lastly the 10 km. his program aims to collect money for the restoration and for the cleaning of Pasig River, and aside from that, the Officials coming from the foundation also wanted to post a new world record by having the biggest eco-foot race dubbed run for the Pasig River. Cleaning Pasig River is no easy task, but the Foundation was able to give a definite timeline and a systematic way on how to attack the problem, in their statement, in 2012 they are targeting the U-BELT area, 2013 would be QC/San Juan/Makati, 2014 would focus on Tondo and Marikina, 2015 is in Laguna, and finally in 2016 – Manila Bay!. The Green Movement of SM malls also helped to essen the trash here in the country. They persuade the civilians to use paper bags instead of having the plastic bags, because plastic bags would take millions of years before it decay. Aside from that, the trash that is being collected from the Pasig river is being made into a tile wherein the Government officials used this tiles for their sidewalks. Rizal and Quezon city uses this program very efficiently. When we preserve the marine biodiversity, Filipinos will have the variety of choices when it comes on fishery products. Aside from that, Respiratory ailments will also lessen because of the preservation of the aquatic resources.
When we preserve Marine Biodiversity, the public will have the freedom to choose the fish that they wanted to eat, they can eat different fish every day, and they have the variation of fishes to choose from. When the variety of fish decreases, the Fishermen will also suffer because there would be no fish to pick on, meaning there would be no source of income for them, and if this happened, this country will suffer more and many families will experience poverty Next benefit of protection of Marine Biodiversity is all about the respiratory system of the public. Roughly 50 Percent of Oxygen came from the Sea and Ocean.
The public needs Oxygen in order to live, when the supply of Oxygen decrease, the citizens will have a hard to time to breathe, their activities will also drop, and eventually, the shortage of Oxygen supply may lead to death. When the country protected and preserved the Marine Biodiversity, The country will have an ample and enough supply of Oxygen that will satisfy the needs of every citizen living in this country. Another benefit of preserving Marine Biodiversity is it plays a vital role to the climate change. Seaweeds and Climate change have a special relationship wherein each have a particular influence over the other.
For example, Seaweeds may exert an influence on Climate change by providing a sink for Carbon dioxide thus offsetting the build-up of greenhouse gases, whereas Climate change can influence the Seaweeds by altering the geographic boundaries of some seaweeds due to increased warming of Oceanic waters. One of the most important aspects of this relationship is the ability of algae to be used as indicators of climate change. This has shown to be and will no doubt continue to be of significant importance in understanding and gaining information about climate change.
On a very fundamental level the type of environment that algae inhabit will always be a good place to start when assessing climate as aquatic ecosystems will always react to changes in climate, be it increasing ocean temperatures or run off from glacial melt. They also inhabit an important position at the bottom of food webs in the aquatic environment. Any changes in these environments will first present themselves in algae. On a short timescale, algae respond rapidly to any environmental changes and also can have very strict limitation boundaries.
According Mr Smol and Cuming(2000), algae is very useful to predict the climate but it will vary depending on where does the algae is located. For example, it is located High arctic regions, they are identified as important as they are areas which are especially sensitive to global warming and can have repercussions for other areas should any changes take place. The two also stated that a global network of paleoclimnological studies on algal lake fossils would be extremely valuable in understanding climate change as lakes are present on all continents and can be used in a variety of ways to gain accurate data about past climatic events.
Thus, it is clear why fresh water algae would be used as indicators of climate change. This country has many laws about protecting the marine life, but the Government can’t implement these laws properly. The lack manpower and they also lack the technology needed to patrol the bodies of water here in the Philippines. They didn’t give the proper sanctions for the violators so the violators have the courage to repeat the same doings all over again because they know that the penalties for them are not that serious and they can bribe the officials to let them out.
For example, the smugglers being caught last month in the Scarborough shoal. They caught many Chinese fishermen that collecting the endangered species in the shoal, The Officials tell them to stop, but after few days, they let the fishermen out, but the officials confiscated the species, but the actions of the government officials are not enough because the law stated that if a foreign fishermen crossed the boundary of this country and he gets involved in any marine activities, automatically, he will be imprisoned for atleast six months, the fishermen will pay fine not lower than one hundred thousand us dollars.
The Government officials are ineffective when implementing and giving the penalties for the violator that is why more citizens are violating the laws because they know that the penalties are not that serious. This country needs to have effective laws, the Government didn’t need to add more laws because there are too many laws talking about the Marine Biodiversity preservation, but what the Government needs is the effectiveness of each of these laws they’ve implemented.
As a Citizen of this Country, The public should limit the usage of plastic bags because plastic materials will decay for about millions of years and when these plastics are being burn, these will affect the Ozone layer, in the end, the public will suffer. So, if the public limit the usage of plastic bags and instead they use hand carry bags like bayong or paper bag when buying in a mall, or looking stuffs in a wet market, the problem of having so much plastic bags will also lessen and The government can focus more on how to restore the bodies of water and how can they implement the laws effectively.
Cite this Marine Biodiversity
Marine Biodiversity. (2016, Oct 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/marine-biodiversity/