Founded in 1984, Tambuyog called attention to declining fishery resources and unabated poverty in coastal communities through interdisciplinary research, creative information and education campaign, community organizing, policy advocacy and constituency building.
Tambuyog traces its roots in the communities along Lingayen Gulf in Pangasinan, where researchers from the University of the Philippines conducted research and organizing. Hence, the name tambuyog, a Pangasinense word for carabao’s horn which symbolizes the call for unity. Its founding was a response to the situation where efforts in community development were focused mainly on peasants and the agriculture sector, while the issues of the fisherfolk remained at the periphery.
An important result of Tambuyog’s work after a decade is the substantial amount of data it has gathered on the political, social and economic situation in coastal communities, and the status of various aquatic resources and the coastal environment. Linking the biological with social, economic and political analysis, Tambuyog developed an alternative model or approach to development—community-based coastal resource management (CBCRM).
The CBCRM approach centers on the role of communities in the management of their resources—too often overlooked by government programs—and their rights to enjoy the benefits resulting from their collective action.
In Tambuyog’s belief, communities ultimately are the best resource managers because they have the greatest stake in the preservation of resources which they depend on for survival. The gap between the ideal and the present capacities to manage remains, though. But through exchange and synergy of indigenous or local knowledge with scientific investigation, and continuous capacity building and consciousness raising, communities may be able to slowly manifest ownership of the coastal resources. This assertion to “ownership”, “claim”, or “entitlement”-called community property rights-is at the heart of Tambuyog’s vision of empowering coastal communities and marginalized sectors of the fishing industry.