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Conserving the Coral Triangle
A Shell-supported foundation is helping local communities conserve the world’s most biodiversity-rich marine environment.
Fonching Lauriano lives in a fishing village on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. His home lies in one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world. Known as the Coral Triangle, this area supports more species than any other marine environment on Earth.
But these species-rich waters and coral reefs are under attack. Natural phenomena such as storms destroy the coral, while pollution running off the land causes a harmful build-up of silt. One of the biggest threats to the coral is overfishing and illegal fishing methods such as fishing with dynamite and cyanide.
Traditionally, coastal villagers depend on fishing for their livelihood. But as the population rises and the number of fishermen increases, there are fewer and fewer fish to catch.
Now a programme founded and funded by Shell and partners, the Malampaya Foundation, is helping thousands of fishermen like Fonching to adopt alternative sources of income and at the same time protect the environment. This will help to conserve the coral and replenish fish stocks.
Fisherman Fonching Lauriano supplements his income through sustainable organic farming
A fish sanctuary
Under the guidance of the Foundation, Fonching and other members of his village have turned part of their traditional fishing area into a sanctuary where fishing is prohibited. They still catch fish in other areas, but on a restricted basis and under the careful monitoring of the village.
“Fish stocks have increased noticeably since we started the project 18 months ago,” says Fonching. He has also been trained to supplement his income through sustainable organic farming - by growing vegetables and raising pigs, chickens and goats.
Further south on the island of Palawan, 65-year-old Nolita Rey used to earn her living from illegal logging. Now, with support from the foundation, she and other villagers farm seaweed and abalone (sea snail). They have also set up stations to monitor the health of the coral reef, and are replanting the mangrove tree shoreline, which is an important spawning ground for fish.
These and hundreds of other community-based projects are part of a comprehensive programme of actions by the Malampaya Foundation to conserve this part of the Coral Triangle. The objective is to help the communities who live there to manage and restore their local ecosystems, to be environmentally responsible over the long term and to prosper economically.
The projects teach the villagers new livelihood skills, show them how to start up and run businesses, and train them to assess, monitor and restore the coral reef and coastal environment.
Powering the Philippines
The Malampaya Foundation was founded in 2005 by Shell, Chevron and PNOC-EC, the three joint-venture partners with an interest in the Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project.
Malampaya is the largest industrial investment in the history of the Philippines. Gas from the reservoir is transported via a 504-kilometre pipeline to the island of Luzon, the most populous part of the country where the capital, Manila, is located. There it provides cleaner burning fuel for three power plants, which generate almost 50% of Luzon’s electricity requirements.
Through the Malampaya Foundation, Shell and its joint venture partners support the communities of northern Palawan, Mindoro and Batangas and work to conserve these biodiversity-rich eco-systems.
More support: Mindoro
“Many of the species on Mindoro Island are under threat of extinction, including the Mindoro tarictic hornbill, scarlet-collared flowerpecker, Mindoro striped shrew-rat and Oliver’s warty pig.
Thanks to support from the Malampaya joint-venture partners, we were able to carry out an island-wide survey to document the exceptional diversity and locations of fauna and flora. This forms part of the Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Project, which allows us to identify priority conservation areas.”
Protecting biodiversity is an important factor when Shell considers any new major project or large expansion to existing operations. Our approach to biodiversity is an integrated part of the way we operate.