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Philippines

Price: £569.25 (including 15 % tax)

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The Panducan region, in the Pangutaran group of islands, is part of the Sulu archipelago. The islands are home to the Tausug, «people of the sea currents,» who number 400,000. Formerly smugglers, the Tausug now live from trade and fishing. They live in small hamlets of bamboo houses on stilts, scattered along the coasts fringed with coral. The coral reefs of the Philippines make up 9 percent of the world’s total, and are the most biologically diverse, with over half of tropical fish species. However, fishing with cyanide (used to capture aquarium fish) or with explosives—as is practiced by a minority of unscrupulous fishermen—has had a devastating effect on the reefs, nearly 70 percent of which are now badly damaged. The consequences are grave for the diet of the Filipinos themselves since the fish and mollusks are their main source of protein. In the neighboring Indonesian archipelago, increased surveillance of the national parks has reduced these local practices, and since 1998 fifteen villages have banned fishing in certain damaged reefs, thus creating the first natural marine reserves to be run by local communities.


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