Batangas fishers and women keep plastic out of the ocean through sustainable entrepreneurship

SMARTSeas PH Remelizza Sacra
Published: 16 August 2019
Last edited: 25 March 2021
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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the support from the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and in partnership with Conservation International, initiated the SMARTSeas PH Project in Verde Island Passage (VIP) in 2016, one of the project's five sites established to strengthen the protection, conservation, and management of marine biodiversity in the area. SMARTSeas is working with the people's organizations in Batangas to train VIP citizens on how to upcycle plastics and other rich resources of the area.


Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Buildings and facilities
Coral reef
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Health and human wellbeing
Outreach & communications
Sustainable livelihoods
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
City management, governance and finance
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Loss of Biodiversity
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans


Batangas, Philippines


The citizens of VIP are highly dependent on the passage’s resources for their livelihood and meal source. Among the five provinces, Batangas contributed the most out of the annual 40-47 thousand metric tons of marine fish production in VIP. However, threats continue to arise in the passage as the number of fishers in the area increase. The result is overfishing as the municipal waters are unable to support more than 50% of the fishers. Hence, the fishers and their families need to have an alternative means of income and resources.


Environment Challenge: Unsustainable harvesting, including overfishing

Social Challenge: Lack of public and decision maker's awareness


Economic Challenge: Lack of alternative income opportunities



  • VIP fishers, women, and families
  • Samahan ng mga Mangingisda ng San Teodoro (SMST; Fisher's Organization of San Teodoro)
  • Samahan ng mga Mangingisda ng Barangay Bagalangit (SMBB; Fisher's Organization of Barangay Bagalangit)
  • Marine wildlife and ecosystem

How do the building blocks interact?

In the early stages of the project, it is vital that stakeholders develop partnerships and collaboration with local government units (LGUs). These LGUs must have input in the planning process since they will be the direct beneficiaries of the project with the sustainable livelihoods that will be provided. 


Environmental Impacts:

  • Reduced the possibility of more than a thousand plastic sachets thrown into the ocean.
  • Overfishing caused by illegal fishing is lessened because fishers were able to find alternative livelihoods aside from fishing.
  • No net decrease in the sighting of large marine vertebrates.



Social and Economic Impacts:

  • More than 50% of the fishers in VIP were able to find an alternative source of income.
  • A sustainable livelihood center was constructed as space for the citizens to conduct training and business operations. The center is also made out of eco-bricks. 
  • In the fourth year of the project since the implementation, the management effectiveness and financial sustainability of the marine protected area (MPA) and MPA Networks have improved over the years by more than 10% with the establishment of VIP marine protected area network framework plan.


Contributed by

naomi.maraviles_37293's picture

Naomi Maraviles United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Other contributors

Catrina Mae Manalese
UNDP Philippines