Principal Investigator: Jeremy Horowitz

Supervisors: Professor Bob Pressey, Dr. Georgina Gurney, Dr. Amelia Wenger

Danajon Bank is the only double barrier reef in the Philippines, and one of six in the world. It has significant conservation values and faces diverse threats from human activities, both in the marine environment and in nearby catchments that flow into the area.  These diverse threats make management of the Danajon Bank difficult, which is why Jeremy Horowitz is going to the Philippines in June and will be spending one month in the Danajon Bank region to investigate how different stakeholder groups perceive drivers of fish populations, in an attempt to align management efforts and increase conservation impact.  To gather data, three replicate workshops will be conducted for each of the following stakeholder groups: (1) local fishermen; (2) government officials who are involved in implementing conservation strategies; and (3) non-government organizations who aim to conserve marine resources in the Danajon Bank.  These workshops will identify each group’s perceived drivers, and how these drivers are believed to affect fish populations through the creation of group-produced Theory of Change models.  A Theory of Change is a theoretical model of causal chains which link interventions to the results they are meant to produce.  Therefore, by allowing each group to create its own model, we will be able to identify how perceived drivers vary between and within groups, and if certain drivers are ignored or unknown by some or all groups.  The group-produced Theory of Change models will also shed light on what conservation strategies each group perceives to be effective mitigators of fish decline.  Determining these factors has implications for management because, if perceived drivers vary between groups, then conservation strategies between groups will also likely vary.  This reduces the ability of groups to pool resources to mitigate main drivers.  If perceived drivers vary within groups, a lack of consensus could mean the group has little to no potential of mitigating main drivers. Lastly, if certain main drivers are ignored or unknown, the group is not putting effort into mitigating those drivers.  Results from this study, and a comprehensive Theory of Change model which will include all nine group-produced models and one created based on literature, will be provided for coastal communities living within the Danajon Bank region.  It is our hope that this study will prompt communication between municipalities to acknowledge the main drivers of fish populations and how to most effectively mitigate these drivers to achieve greater conservation impact.

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