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How is Nasingin Island reacting to Net-Works?

By Bernie Calinajan |

Three community bank members reflect on the impact of Net-Works in Nasingin

It has been a practice and routine of mine to pick-up discarded nets from Nasingin island in Getafe, Bohol. These nets are collected through the Nasingin Action Saver’s group, one of the local community banks (CoMSCAs) set up by the Zoological Society of London Philippines (ZSL Philippines).

After the nets are sold through Net-Works, but before transportation to the Net-Works hub in Suba, Talibon, Bohol, the nets from the island and neighbouring villages are re-weighed and records updated. This is the current practice in Nasingin and all Net-Works sites in Danajon Bank, Bohol.

Nasingin members reflect

It was while re-weighing nets at the net manager’s home, that I found three members of Net-Works management committee in the village, namely Melvino, Valeriano and Feliciano, reflecting on the project.

They were discussing how, if not for Net-Works, discarded used fishing nets would still be found everywhere on the island and how unmanaged trash is harmful to the people and the ocean, which for these communities underpins both food security and livelihoods. For the first time, I was witnessing  community leaders candidly sharing thoughts and observations on the impact Net-Works was having on their island.

They were very grateful to ZSL, ZSL Philippines and Interface for conceiving an initiative that cleans the shorelines of discarded fishing nets.

Commitment and health benefits of Net-Works

The three CoMSCA leaders then pledged to continue supporting this project by committing themselves as volunteers in the dissemination of information regarding proper garbage disposal and segregation (beyond discarded nets), to support the additional income that comes from the CoMSCAs, and to seize the opportunity to help minimize further harm to the already damaged marine environment.

Furthermore, these three CoMSCA members revealed that the profit their group is earning from buying nets is not as big as in some of the other sites. However, from their perspective the environmental benefits are arguably more key than the financial. Creating a clean and health environment helps them with their livelihoods and supporting their families. For these three, environmental health helps their wealth.

For me, Net-Works is a unique ZSL collaborative project that is making amazing progress in Nasingin, and it was great to hear these views from Melvino, Valeriano and Feliciano.

For the views of CoMSCA members from Guindacpan see: From Piggy Banks to Savings That’ll Grow

Bernie Calinajan is a Community Organiser at ZSL-Philippines

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