Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines supports CREE’s Philippines Work

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The waters around the Babuyan Islands and Bohol sea are one of the key marine biodiversity areas in the Philippines, and home to such marine megafauna as whales, dolphins, whale sharks, and sea turtles. Yet in the past few years unsustainable and destructive extraction of marine resources have put these areas at risk. Recognizing the critical need to protect marine life and foster local stewardship of it, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has joined hands with CREE to promote community conservation of the area’s marine biodiversity.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines established the Ocean Fund (http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ourCompany/environment/oceanFund.do) with the goal of supporting marine conservation organizations through activities that restore healthy marine environments and also reduce human impacts on sensitive marine ecological systems. CREE is pleased that in 2011 the Ocean Fund has placed an increased emphasis on stakeholder engagement and participatory management, and as such has prioritized its Filipino work.

At CREE we believe in diverse stakeholder engagement to foster a renewed pride and awareness of a community’s delicate marine resources, and so in our education efforts we will be working with fisherfolk, coastal communities, local government officials, students, and also youth camps. Tourism has the potential to channel economic benefits from marine environments to local communities, but at the same time it can also place marine resources at further risk when managed unsustainably and combined with threats like climate change and population growth.

Employing CREE’s ‘People-Centered Conservation’ approach, we will work directly with communities to educate them on responsible human-cetacean interaction through workshops teaching guidelines on necessary behavior in marine environments.  We will enhance a unique marine website portal for the area’s youth to use visual learning methods to motivate and inspire youth to become stewards of their environment and will also employ print materials for youth camps and government audiences alike. Finally, CREE will also be placing buoys around selected marine sanctuaries in Jagna, Bohol, Cagayan, and Caminguin Islands and will be sparking debate on what tourism should be and who should benefit from its growth and share in the related responsibilities of protection. CREE is thankful to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the Ocean Fund for its role in fostering our leadership in this arena.

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