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Supporting the Fisheries Commission’s Community Fisheries Watchdog Communities: Legal Review of the Bantay Dagat (Sea Guardian) Program in the Philippines

By: USAID GHANA, Mario Maderazo

The Bantay Dagat (BD) or “sea guardian” program is a community-based law enforcement institution in the Philippines that engages fisherfolk in coastal villages or barangays on a volunteer basis to support the detection and enforcement of illegal fishing in coastal waters. The BD program has been highly effective and has been formally institutionalized in coastal and fishery law enforcement in existing national laws and local ordinances in the Philippines.

This review presents the various aspects of the BD’s implementation, including organization, membership, operations, benefits for volunteers, and explores the challenges encountered in the design and implementation of the BD. It then identifies the legal foundations of the BD and describes how it was organized, developed and implemented in the Philippines. On these premises, the nation’s legal framework is discussed, focusing on key and relevant provisions of specific national laws and local ordinances. The review then explores the different modalities of the BD’s operation at the local level and adaptation of the program to different local contexts. Finally, this review presents a number of recommendations to provide insights on how specific challenges for the sustainability and effectiveness of the program can be addressed for replicating the program in Ghana.

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Uploaded on: May 08, 2017
Last Updated: Jun 14, 2017
Year Published: 2016
Author: Mario Maderazo
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