PROmote Marine Conservation and Sustainable FISHeries in Lampi Marine National Park – PROFISH
Lampi Marine National Park (MNP), in the South of Myanmar, is an area of globally recognized marine richness and cultural diversity. The government has taken steps to protect the resources of the island and the wider archipelago, but major challenges remain. The population size of the area has increased dramatically through several flows of migration and, at present, more than 2,500 people live inside the park. On the opposite, the number of the indigenous Moken has shrunk down to 300 people due to greater competition, inter-ethnic marriages and decline of valuable resources.
The biodiversity is threatened by various factors. First, the number of fishing boats has increased and destructive techniques such as dynamite fishing, trawling and other illegal, unreported and uncontrolled fishing are widespread. Local fisheries compete with commercial fisheries whose fishing vessels illegally come near the shore destroying traps and nets. Also, unplanned tourism development, which, coupled with the impacts of climate change, is leading to the rapid depletion of marine resources, threatening the functioning of marine habitats and putting many species at risk of extinction. Furthermore, due to inadequate skillset, local communities are not engaged in tourism as alternative livelihood option and have low sense of responsibility in the sustainable management of local resources. Local authorities lack capacities to oversee marine conservation and fisheries management. Marine fisheries research is non-existent. Policies and laws are inadequate and enforcement against illegal and destructive fishing is insufficient.
This project, implemented by Istituto Oikos, aims to promote the conservation of marine resources and sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
The activities will first focus on strengthening the management and expanding the boundaries of Lampi MNP to protect globally significant biodiversity. Scientific and technical analysis of priority marine ecosystems and species will be operated. This part will involve local authorities, fishers, universities and tourists to facilitate capacity building of local actors and the identification of cost-effective and user-friendly data collection mechanisms. The data collected will also be used to guide the identification of priority sites for permanent or temporary closures.
Local communities will be engaged in sustainable fisheries and supported in cost-effective enforcement against illegal fishing. A community awareness campaign will be conducted in target villages, including schools. 5 Village Fisheries Societies will be established and accompanied in a capacity building process. Community patrolling will be integrated in the enforcement scheme led by park authorities.
Finally, the project will facilitate a participatory process of planning a tourism development that respects the environment and the communities involving local authorities and the main stakeholders. A Destination Management Organization will be strengthened. 5 Village initiatives for community tourism will be established and/or strengthened on coordinating, planning and managing community tourism services. Local micro-enterprises in the field of handicraft production, hospitality, guide services and development of itineraries will be supported through technical and financial assistance. Specifically, 5 Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs) will be created to support sustainable income generating activities. A gender awareness campaign will be carried out in collaboration with Gender and Development Institute (a local NGO), the village midwives and community health workers trained by the project.
In 2020, Fondation Ensemble supported an other project implemented by Istituto Oikos in the Lampi MNP. You can check it here.