Establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) helps to restore and sustain marine and fishery resources, but in the Philippines only 20% of total MPAs are achieving their management objectives. We conducted a case study of a small MPA in Northern Philippines to understand socio-economic status and livelihoods of the fishermen stakeholders, and examine their attitudes and perceptions on marine resource values and conservation. Using an ordered probit model, we also investigated factors affecting these perceptions. We found a lower fish income ratio in higher income quartiles, a small share of local non-fishery income, and an apparent lack of other livelihood opportunities within the rural economy. The majority of fishermen had positive perceptions of the non-market value of marine resources, agreed with the need for MPAs, and perceived positive potential income benefit from MPAs. Level of education and fishing income were consistent significant positive determinants of these perceptions. Policy implications suggest: involving likely-to-be-displaced reef fishers in the crafting of management plans; conducting intensive research on appropriate and feasible livelihood options, for example, marine culture technologies; and designing explicit strategies to increase the propensity of coastal households to invest in children's education as a strategy for long-term sustainability of resource management.

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