Lots of people in El Nido, Palawan are confused with the word “marine zoning”.  Many ask questions what does this word implies, its importance, the benefits everyone can get out from this and much more the benefits it can give to sustain the tourism industry in the town.

According to Mr. Raffy Cabate of Coastal Resource Management Office (CRMO) of the municipality of El Nido, marine zoning “is a term used to identify or describe the different uses of marine area”.  Added by him, “marine areas can be divided in terms of their uses.  It can be one part or zone is for fishing, another area is for the so-called mariculture like for instance, seaweed planting, lobster culturing, pearl farming to name a few.  Another very popular zone present in almost if not all marine areas is the marine protected area or marine sanctuary where no activities are allowed to conduct for its sole purpose is for the protection and preservation of the resources beneath as well as the breeding grounds for fishes and other marine life.  There is also what we called as recreation zone.  This zone offers activities related to tourism industry like swimming, snorkeling and diving activities to name some.”

Why is there a need to zone the marine areas?  What are its purposes and goals?  These questions were being answered by Mr. Edmund Piamonte, the Program Manager of El Nido Foundation (ENF). According to him, “it is indeed very important activity to zone the marine areas and this activity can be considered as a very effective way of identifying and setting aside of one part of the area for its integral and suitable use”.  He also added that “marine area is like a house with lots of divisions.  Each division has its own role, use and responsibity to take.  Take a glance to the house’s dining area where solely it is used for eating purposes so as the bedroom for sleeping purpose only and living room for accepting guests and attending to some social gatherings.  These are just to name a few.  Through this proper division, prevention and avoidance of conflicts among the various users of marine area can be gained and addressed.”

It cannot be denied that nowadays threats in marine areas are emerging very rampantly.  These threats include destruction of the marine resources, overcrowding or congestion in some marine areas and conflicts that arise between the users of the marine areas.  In this regard, the CRMO under the Local Government (LGU) Unit leads in the implementation of marine related projects, with the collaboration of ENF and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as the NGOs.  They work hand in hand to answer the questions, solve the problems related to marine areas.  Other Local Government Unit offices such as the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO), Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDC), Municipal Engineering Office (MEO), and Municipal Agricultural Office (MAO) help in the preservation and conservation of the marine resources which is the bread and butter of the tourism industry of El Nido.

Enormous amounts of money are being spent by the government and by the other national and international foundations and corporations to fund the project for marine zoning.  There are also other concerned agencies that extend their help through financial and technical assistance just to pursue and materialize the projects for marine zoning.  All are envisioning and aiming to protect and preserve and conserve all the resources bestowed to us by the sea for the next generation.

There are still lots of projects CRMO wants to put into action with the help of the different concerned sectors.  That is why all are encourage to participate in pursuing the projects really of great importance and benefits for all the people and to the town of El NIdo as a whole. [Venice Badiang, Visayas State University Student]