Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 415–427 | Cite as

The Intensification of Fishing and the Rise of Tourism: Competing Coastal Livelihoods in the Calamianes Islands, Philippines

  • Michael FabinyiEmail author


Research on agrarian changes in Southeast Asia has paid comparatively less attention to the processes of livelihood change in coastal regions. In the context of declining profitability in the fishing industry due to environmental degradation and overfishing, governments at multiple levels are heavily promoting tourism in the Philippines. This paper considers the ways in which coastal residents in the Calamianes Islands, Palawan province, negotiate these changes in the fishing and tourism industries. Despite the push for tourism as a more sustainable alternative to fishing, the experiences and priorities of coastal residents complicate this shift. The paper demonstrates that fishing is marked by increasing levels of intensification, and that tourism has the potential to exclude fishers from many of its purported benefits. These are two important trends that need to be taken into account when analysing livelihood change in coastal regions of Southeast Asia.


Livelihood Tourism Fishing Palawan Philippines Live reef fish trade 



Funding was provided for fieldwork in part by the PADI Foundation and an Australian Postgraduate Award from the Australian National University. Thanks to Sarinda Singh and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of the paper, and to Wolfram Dressler and Magne Knudsen for valuable discussions on these issues. All errors and omissions remain the author’s own.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesTownsvilleAustralia

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