Resolving conservation and development tensions in a small island state: A governance analysis of Curieuse Marine National Park, Seychelles
The management and conservation of marine resources in Seychelles, a small island developing state (SIDS) in the western Indian Ocean, is fundamental to maintaining the flow of international visitors which forms the mainstay of the nation's economy. There is an increasing trend towards empowering non-governmental organisations and parastatal entities with protected area management responsibilities, which partly reflects the chronic underfunding of the state protected area management institution. This paper explores these and related issues through a governance analysis of Curieuse Marine National Park, which is the most popular state-owned marine national park in terms of recorded visitor numbers. This demonstrates that the inability to implement economic incentives through not fully capitalising on the use and non-use values of the park has deleterious consequences for managing the combined impacts of tourism and fisheries on the ecological assets of the park. Furthermore, the capacity of the state management institution is being eroded through a focus on the development of an extensive network of new marine protected areas under the direction of an international non-governmental organisation. Suggestions are made that could strengthen economic, participative and interpretative incentives to provide a more sustainable basis for marine national park management.