Marine Reserves in the Philippines
Historical Development, Effects and Influence on Marine Conservation Policy
By Angel C Alcala
Published by Bookmark, 2001
A potentially useful book, but the title is misleading. As the back cover elucidates "This book describes the development of the marine biology program at the Silliman University Marine Laboratory, Dumagete City, and its role in the establishment of marine reserves in the Philippines…" Outside the Philippines the book will have only limited appeal, as it is far from comprehensive in its dealing with the subject, even within the Philippines.
While there is no doubt that this will provide some useful background for conservation in the Philippines Dr Alcala unfortunately allows himself to be carried away, and largely ignore the work of others. There is no real historical or international perspective – the first marine reserves were being proposed in other parts of the world, such as New Zealand and Belize, over a decade earlier than in the Philippines. And the first marine reserve in the USA had been designated in 1962. Alcala mentions Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, but ignores her The Sea Around us published a decade earlier, in 1951, and surely a seminal book in the history of marine resources?
Review by John Burton