DA- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Office No. 02, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, Philippines; Member, Agriculture and Forestry Division, National Research Council of the Philippines
The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) managed by the community has been a popular tool for coastal and resource management in the Philippines. As the MPAs limit the use of the resources, the eco-biological components of the marine environment have been preserved and maintained, which opened opportunities for ecotourism activities. Thus, ecotourism has been developed as one way of gaining economic benefits from the coastal and marine resources while conserving biodiversity and restoring critical habitats by shifting resource exploitation from an extractive to a non-extractive usage. This study was conducted using household surveys and key informant interviews to investigate whether ecotourism's development affects the local community's participation and support on MPA management using the case of Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (PIPLS) in northern Luzon, Philippines. The respondents recognized the impacts of ecotourism on their family welfare, fishing activities, and involvement in MPA management. In particular, ecotourism development strengthens local communities' support for coastal resource management, especially if it provides enough sources of income. The results of this study could provide information to resource managers and policymakers on crafting sustainable ecotourism and alternative livelihood policies in MPAs, taking into account its possible impacts on the coastal fishing communities.