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PROBLEMS AND CONSTRAINTS IN PHILIPPINE MUNICIPAL FISHERIES: THE CASE OF SAN MIGUEL BAY, CAMARINES SUR The open access condition of a common property resource as illustrated by the case of SMB has resulted in various conflicting problems. The bay now is characterized by too many fishermen and too few fish (Smith and others 1993,Lim 1990). Access to the fishery is both free and open. Although the municipality administers the area and requires a license fee and permit, municipal officials do not strictly enforce the law and users do not pay. Uncontrolled in-migration sets in. Such migration fuels the increasing population around the bay, which indirectly puts pressure on the already overexploited resources, and thus exacerbates the deteriorating socioeconomic condition of the fishermen. The population pressure in the area can no longer be ignored. Ways to manage it must be explored. The lax enforcement of the regulations by the concerned authority further encourages some small-scale fishermen to continue in engage in illegal fishing and a number of trawlers to encroach into areas designated for municipal fishing. It is inevitable that conflicts will to continue to erupt between small-scale fishermen and trawlers. The reasons behind the lax enforcement and non-compliance with rules and regulations must be looked into for effective implementation of management rules and regulations. This must happen in the near future. The majority of the fishermen in the bay continue to use the more traditional gear such as gill nets, hooks and lines and long lines. This and the size of municipal fishing outfits limit their operation to areas near the coastline. With many traditional fishing grounds overfished, the result is the overcrowding and low average productivity. Off-shore fishing needs to be explored. However, improvement of fishing craft requires high capital investment, which most fishermen cannot afford. Inadequate transport and post harvest facilities restrict the fishermen’s choice of market outlet, and hence they have to rely more on middlemen, who play an important role in the life of the fishermen. Such interdependency between middlemen and fishermen, however, is viewed as a means of reducing risk (World Bank 1980). It is very vital, therefore, that any management effort must consider and define the role and participation of the middlemen. Any disregard may provoke unfavorable repercussions to their relationship with the small-scale fishermen, to the fishing community, and ultimately to the fishery resources. Heavy dependence on fishing is compounded by the apparent lack of alternative income-generating activities, particularly in agriculture. This is because land is limited. Provision of alternatives to fishing and supplementary sources of income to enable a reduction in fishing and improved standard of living in the coastal areas seems a possible solution. Such alternatives require intensive study, the identification of appropriate alternative livelihoods, and provision of sufficient funds for those activities. The suggested solutions to the above problems are not enough to guarantee the success of any attempt to manage the fisheries of SMB. SMB's existing condition points to the need for a new management approach that would address the various problems confronting the fishery. One recent approach to the management of common property resources that has gained widespread attention is known as co-management. This approach evolved from the theory of common property. Common property theorists assumed that eventual overexploitation of collectively owned property resources can be avoided and be best protected by establishing property rights (private, state or communal). However, studies conducted by Feeny and others (1990) revealed that common property resources held under different property rights regime are associated with both the success and failure. They contend that successful management is "not universally associated with...
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