Print ISSN: 0016-4139 Online ISSN: 2719-082X
The establishment of a marine protected area (MPA) in the coastal waters of Bago City and Pulupandan is crucial in ensuring the conservation of the habitats of the Irrawaddy dolphin, a rare and critically endangered species of dolphin. Its effectiveness relies not upon only good governance by the said local government units but also on the participation of fisherfolk communities. !e study assesses the economic and livelihood condition of fisherfolk households to determine conservation-based alternative livelihoods that they can engage with to augment their family incomes, especially during the off-fishing season. An alternative livelihood assessment survey was conducted among 400 sampled household participants and to determine viable conservation-based alternative livelihoods, livelihood planning workshops were conducted among leaders of fisherfolk organizations. !e study reveals that fisherfolk communities are generally poor and most households live below the poverty line. !e incidence of hunger among them is high and is worst during the off-fishing season as they can hardly find alternative sources of income. !ey possessed strong entrepreneurial skills and attitudes and they have expressed willingness to venture into alternative livelihoods especially related to the environment and conservation. Among the top three livelihoods recommended, handicrafts such as shell crafts and “pandan” weaving were considered the most viable alternative livelihood. Alternative livelihoods related to eco-tourism and mangrove reforestation are also encouraged.