Protected area entry fees and governance quality
Entry fees are often promoted as mechanisms to finance conservation in marine protected areas (MPAs). This case study examined stakeholder perspectives on how a federal government decree to remove protected area entry fees in the Republic of Panama impacted governance quality in the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park (BINMP), in Bocas del Toro. Through interviews and surveys, we found that local stakeholders view poorly monitored and distributed fees as ineffective and contentious. This manuscript demonstrates how fees are perhaps one of the most tangible elements of protected area governance and that quality can be greatly improved through efforts to ensure that local stakeholders have a say in whether or not there is a fee, as well as, how fees are collected and dispersed.