Manamoc is a small, almost circular island in the Sulu Sea. The rich marine environment that surrounds it includes coral reefs and seagrass. The island’s most distinctive physical feature is Caseledan Lagoon, which supports seagrass beds and thick stands of mangroves. The lagoon is a breeding ground for rabbitfishes, crabs, clams, and other valuable resources.
Most of the island’s 2,630 residents make a living from fishing or seaweed farming. They are also exploring options such as raising hogs, growing vegetables, and making handicrafts.
The community has worked to stop destructive fishing practices, protect coastal habitats, and reduce fishing pressure for years. Since 2008, it has been protecting a 267-acre marine protected area under an agreement with Seacology. The community used a Seacology grant for a solar power system for the village’s schools and health centers.
The community will now protect the 272-acre lagoon, including its 74 acres of mangroves, for 25 years. The Barangay (Village) Council has already restricted fishing and banned cutting mangroves on the island. The council has also agreed to allocate funds to protect the lagoon, as it does for the marine protected area. The MPA management committee will monitor and patrol the lagoon.
The community, which receives few government services, will use a Seacology grant to build a multipurpose community center. They will use the building for meetings and trainings, and for shelter during the typhoons that regularly slam into the Philippines.