Most of the marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Philippines are small-sized and community-based, and their contribution to the conservation efforts have been usually overlooked.
This paper will present the results of the biological assessment study conducted in three community-based MPAs in Southern Iloilo, Philippines. Each MPA has a 2-ha no-take zone and this size is way below the recommended optimal size of 10–100 km2. Results show that fish biomass showed an overall increase of about 1–5 times. This is attributed to both an increase in abundance and in fish size. Fish in this survey conducted in 2013 were about 2.3–3.3 times the size of fish in the 2007 baseline data. Macroepifaunal abundance increased 2 to 8 times across the three MPA sites. However, live hard coral cover showed a parallel ∼40% decrease across all sites, which can be attributed to several factors.
The conservation goals of these MPAs have been attained. However, the results of biological assessments still need to be correlated with a study on the socioeconomic impact of the MPAs in the community to be able to arrive at good management decisions.