<h5>Introduction</h5> Coral reefs are the coastal ecosystem that provides the most substantial and sustainable source of sustenance to people in the Philippines (White, 1987; Alcala, 1988; McAllister, 1988; Gomez et al. , 1994; White and Cruz-Trinidad, 1998) . The 18 000 km of coastline in the country is estimated to have about 27 000 km 2 of fringing reefs or submerged offshore reefs or coral atolls. This area is equal to slightly more than 10% of the total land area of the country (Gomez et al. , 1994) . It is estimated that more than one million small-scale fishers depend directly on reef fisheries for livelihood (BFAR, 1997) . In addition, reef fisheries supply a sizable amount of protein in a country where more than 50% of the animal protein is derived from marine fisheries and aquaculture. The overall condition of the coral reefs in the country is not good. Most reef areas have been adversely affected by human activities and less than 5% (as measured by coral cover) are considered to be in excellent condition ( Fig. 1 ) (Gomez et al. , 1994) . As coral reefs are destroyed, fisheries, tourism, coastal protection and biodiversity values
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