A governance analysis of the Galápagos Marine Reserve
The Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) has faced major governance challenges since its designation in 1998, largely due to the driving forces of immigration from the mainland; a heterogeneous population that has a mainland rather than an island identity; increasing demand for marine resources from global seafood markets; and the rapid growth of tourism. Until recently, the pressures related to these driving forces had challenged measures to promote the effectiveness of the GMR. Decisions taken through the participatory management structure were often undermined by a combination of civil unrest, illegal activities and lack of enforcement. A recent period of relative political stability, coupled with several new measures to address these driving forces, has improved the potential effectiveness of the governance framework. These measures include controls on immigration, the use of remote surveillance technologies to enforce fishing restrictions and a system for the improved management of tourism vessels. Whilst participative and economic incentives will continue to be important, increasing political will to promote long-term sustainability and related improvements in the use of legal incentives, including enforcement technologies and effective prosecutions for those who breach restrictions, are likely to be key elements of the governance framework. It is argued that these measures, coupled with the emergence of a more marine-aware generation of Galápagos citizens, should pave the way for major improvements in the effectiveness of the GMR, hopefully sufficiently strengthening the governance framework to withstand the major driving forces that could otherwise perturb it.
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