Expert: Philippines should push for ‘no-take zones’ to reinforce arbitral ruling


The Philippines can cooperate with other countries to establish joint areas of protection as a way to reinforce the South China Sea arbitral ruling. File
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines should work with other claimant-states to create “no-take zones” to reinforce national and international fisheries management agenda as a way to reinforce the South China Sea arbitration ruling.

This was the assessment of an expert from De La Salle University (DLSU) who said that one way to reinforce the arbitration ruling on South China Sea released last year was for the Philippines to establish transboundary marine parks and areas of joint protection.

“Doing this will preserve the living resources they harbor, hopefully, so they will replenish adjacent habitats,” Ma. Carmel Ablan Lagman of the DLSU Center for Natural Resource and Environmental Research said.

Lagman added that this setup can work in the more or less 100 small islands and features in the hotly-contested Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea.

Lagman said that the Spratlys can greatly benefit from such a multistate intervention considering that it’s one of the few remaining healthy, resource-rich areas and habitats in the region based on ecological considerations such as the duration of pelagic larvae, surface circulation patterns and seasonability of adults and larvae.

She said that agreements to share the cost and effort may be drawn over areas such as Palawan, which is under the jurisdiction of the Philippines but whose benefits can also trickle to others. Lagman said bilateral agreements can be ironed out and financing can come in the form of training.