|Marine Protected Area Guards organized|
The Philippines boasts of being one of the most biodiversity regions in the entire planet with more than 464 reef-building coral species. It is disheartening that due to verfishing, destructive fishing techniques, and rapid coastal development in recent years, these reefs have suffered a heavy degradation. In an attempt to reverse the phenomenon, the National Government and the Local Government Units (LGUs) of the different coastal areas of the contry declared many Mrine Protected Areas (MPAs), which have been springing up over the last twenty years with current estimates at about 1,500 MPAs. However, the majority of these MPAs are not sustained (people in the regions either ignore their restrictions or don't even know of their existence) and as a result are highly ineffective. On the other hand, there are several MPAs in the country that are well known for having an impact on the health of their reefs by enhancing fish biomass, decreasing coral bleaching, and increasing yields in adjacent fisheries. MPAs offer a range of benefits for fisheries, people and the marine environment. They work by providing safe havens for depleted fish stocks to recover. They also provide services to local communities who depend on the sea and its resources, increasing food security and reducing poverty. MPAs can also benefit local people by opening new oppurtunities to gain income. Countries with coral reefs attract millions of SCUBA divers and snorkelers every year, yielding significant economic benefits for the country. Finally, in this era of climate change, MPAs act as storm buffers and natural barriers to strong wave action, thereby providing protection to coastal communities living near the shoreline.
There are two kinds of MPAs: those that were created by National Government through the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) and those that were created by cities and municipalities through ordinances. Both MPAs under NIPAS and under ordinances require the support of law enforcers, like the Maritime Group, to ensure that their benefits are obtained