A comprehensive research study of Cabeza de Toro and Punta Cana’s fishing and tourism industries reveal viability of economic solutions between the hospitality industry, fishermen, and the government to reduce practices harmful to the coastal marine ecosystem. Recent research studies of Punta Cana and Cabeza de Toro’s coastal marine ecosystem demonstrate diminishing coral coverage and reduced fish populations. Causes for the decline of the coastal marine ecosystem include overfishing, illegal fishing of species conducive to coral health, and the destruction of mangrove sanctuaries. By methods of survey and in-person interview, researchers gathered data on over 20% of Cabeza de Toro’s fisherman population with the intent of further developing a co-management plan for the recently established marine protected area. Data collection included qualitative and quantitative research into income and livelihoods of Cabeza de Toro fishermen, fishing practices, interest in alternative work opportunities, and strength of social responsibility and environmental beliefs. Findings demonstrate that viable economic applications exist in forging partnerships between fishermen, the tourism and hospitality industries, and the local government.
Community-based and Participatory Management
This paper evaluates two stakeholder participatory workshops (local communities and tourism stakeholder) to support the development of a management plan for South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (SAMPA), Maldives. SAMPA is the largest MPA in the country declared by Maldives to preserve one of the largest whale shark aggregations in the world. However, to date it exists with no management plan to date. The objective of the workshops was to consult with stakeholders on a range of potential regulatory and governance mechanisms proposed for the MPA that can be included in a potential management plan. The paper finds that the two stakeholder workshops had, both functional and dysfunctional aspects that influenced the potential design of a management plan for SAMPA. Overall, the workshops represented a clear opportunity for collective learning and collaboration that fostered dialogue and deliberation. However, important and influential stakeholders were under-represented at the workshops. Furthermore, a reluctance of government to demonstrate how the outcomes of the workshop would be integrated in its decision-making left many participants feeling sceptical about the fairness, equity and effectiveness of the processes that would follow. With no management plan to date, this paper proposes that any future stakeholder process in SAMPA should be underpinned by well informed governance and regulatory options that have the support and commitment of the government which can ensure SAMPA's ecosystem services are sustained to benefit long-term human well-being.
While fisheries science in the USA has in the past been dominated by mode 1 knowledge production that is discipline-specific and focused on basic research, it has increasingly opened up to concerns with relevance, participation, and interdisciplinary inquiry. We consider how this transition has been experienced through the analysis of oral histories conducted with marine scientists, looking at the changes they have seen to their role as scientists and to the practice of doing science at the interface of knowledge production and policy. In particular, we examine scientists’ ideas about and experiences of collaboration, public responsibility, freedom and politics in science, diversity and outreach, involvement, and relevance to society. In so doing, we explore the implications of the co-production of science and policy as traditional domain boundaries are increasingly problematized.
This paper addresses the question: to what extent do insights from smaller, nearshore marine protected areas (MPAs) regarding the importance of participatory processes apply to large and remote MPAs (LMPAs)? To date there has been little empirical research about stakeholder participation in LMPA designation processes outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park context. Through an analysis of documents and 90 interviews collected by two independent research projects, this paper examines the designation process of a U.S. LMPA, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM), which was established in the waters of the U.S. territories of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam through a presidential proclamation under the U.S. Antiquities Act in 2009. Results indicate that overall the designation process for the Monument did not cohere with recommendations from nearshore MPA research about the importance of participation and transparency. Despite widespread support for conservation in that space, the proposed Monument was highly controverial. Stakeholders on all sides of the issue – advocates and opponents alike – expressed criticisms of the designation process. Concerns were related to the speed and perceived top-down nature of the process, the involvement of external entities, and the appropriateness of the process design for the local CNMI context. Data collected showed that much of the opposition to the Monument stemmed from how the process was conducted, rather than opposition to conservation. These findings suggest that a more participatory, collaborative, transparent, and culturally appropriate designation process might have achieved a similar conservation outcome while reducing conflict and enduring resentment. We derive six lessons learned from the MTMNM designation process that may be useful for LMPAs globally. Results suggest that key lessons from conventional MPAs about effective consultation and participation processes can apply to LMPAs, but also that new guidance is needed to account for the unique features of LMPAs.
To determine the relationship between the intent of owners of homes located near sea turtle nesting beaches in the state of Florida to engage in coastal conservation easements (CCE), the theory of planned behavior (TPB), environmental identity (EI) and relevant demographics were analyzed. As CCEs are a novel application of a proven conservation tool, a statewide survey was administered to 1274 property owners living within a mile of a protected section of sea turtle nesting habitat (e.g. state park, preserve, wildlife refuge). Multiple linear regression showed coastal property owners were more likely to engage with a CCE if they believed they had the ability and opportunity, held positive attitudes about entering into a CCE, and identified more favorably with potential CCE motivators for property owners. These motivators include receiving assistance from a conservation organization to manage their beachfront land; conserving beach habitat; obtaining annual tax deductions; and trusting the organization administering a CCE. Knowing these motivators and demographics of coastal property owners can help aid coastal land conservationists in crafting strategies to conserve sea turtle nesting beaches.
In 2015–2016, a gear-specific assessment of the Gizo, Solomon Islands, commercial inshore fishery was conducted to assist management decision making. The survey identified at least 260 species and 25 families among over 14,000 individual catch- and gear-specific fish photos taken using a digital image capture system. Seventy-nine fishers provided 175 catches during surveys and more than 1,600 fisher and vendor interviews were conducted. More than 75% of all individual fish sampled belonged to nine families that included groupers (Epinephelidae) with 29 species and snappers (Lutjanidae) with 28 species. Groupers, snappers and emperors (Lethrinidae) dominated line-caught fish, while speared catch was composed primarily of parrotfish (Scaridae) and surgeonfish and unicornfish (Acanthuridae). Catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) was 3.9 ± 0.1 kg hr−1 fisher−1 overall, with the highest CPUE for line fishing at 4.5 ± 1.6 kg hr−1 and lowest CPUE for nighttime spearfishing (2.1 ± 0.4 kg hr−1). Gear-specific size distributions and species targeted varied widely, with juveniles dominating most catches for speared fish. Between line-caught and speared catch, only two species were common within the top 25 species. At the time of the study there were no enacted national regulations related to finfish in the inshore fishery in Solomon Islands. Community-based management approaches have been endorsed by government and non-government entities in Solomon Islands, however a greater level of community engagement and voluntary fisher compliance is needed in concert with government enforcement to control potential overfishing, particularly nighttime spearfishing. Ongoing support for precautionary, adaptive management is a recommended course of action to limit the potential for overfishing in Gizo and other coastal areas of high human population density that rely heavily on marine resources.
In this paper, we explore the Polish fishers' perception of marine spatial planning (MSP) processes off the Polish coast. Our research is guided by the radical approach to MSP which, at its centre, places the interplay between MSP actors and their stakes. Our approach certainly considers the relationship of MSP with politics and power, questioning the rational choice. Hence, we have selected fishers as a group which is often recognised as less privileged, with no or little influence on MSP. Firstly, using semi-structured interviews, we investigated the ways in which fishers identify the challenges inhibiting their meaningful participation in MSP. The fishers pointed out data and knowledge gaps as well as a perceived limited agency in decision-making. However, misconceptions about MSP, i.e., equating MSP to off-shore wind farms, appeared to be the most significant short-term challenge. Secondly, through a focus group with MSP planners, we explored what the planners recognised as barriers to the fishers' active participation, and gauged the planners' awareness regarding the problems identified by the fishers. Both groups, fishers and planners, identified similar challenges. The major difference between these two groups was the issue of who should be responsible for addressing the concerns they identified. We conclude that much of the fishers’ reluctance towards MSP stemmed from their negative experiences in previous marine management initiatives, leading to a general lack of trust among the members of this group. We speculate that this lack of trust could have been diminished through a properly implemented stakeholder mapping in the pre-planning phase. However, the schedule stipulated by the EU MSP Directive, i.e., to prepare the plans before early 2021, did not allow the necessary time for the accomplishment of this step. We, thus, postulate that the stakeholder consultation process should be decoupled from formal MSP, and it should be most active in the pre-planning phase.
Effectively managing ecosystems is an information intensive endeavour. Yet social, cultural, and economic barriers can limit who is able to access information and how knowledge is exchanged. We draw on social network theory to examine whether co-management institutions break down these traditional barriers. We examined the factors that predict information access and knowledge exchange using interview and knowledge sharing network data from 616 Kenyan coral reef fishers operating in four communities with formal co-management institutions. For access to fisheries management information, we found disparities in fisher's age, leadership status, and wealth. Yet once we accounted for formal engagement in the co-management process, only wealth disparities remained significant. In contrast, knowledge exchange was insensitive to whether or not we accounted for engagement in co-management. We found that community leaders and external actors, such as NGO representatives, were primary sources of fisheries-related knowledge. Among fishers, knowledge exchange tended to occur more often between those using the same landing site. Fishers engaged in the co-management process and community leaders were likely to transfer knowledge widely (acting as ‘central communicators’), yet only leaders bridged disconnected groups (acting as ‘brokers’). Ethnic minorities and those with higher levels of education were more likely to fall on the periphery of the knowledge exchange networks. Taken together, our results suggest that co-management can break down traditional social and cultural – but perhaps not economic – barriers to information access; while social, cultural, and economic factors remain important for structuring knowledge exchange.
Although stakeholder participation is transversal to other steps of the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process, its recognition and adoption is context dependent. Considering that MSP plans need to be periodically evaluated, not only in relation to their outputs and outcomes, but also through an analysis of the processes used to achieve the results, criteria to evaluate participation throughout the whole process are needed. However, a robust and comprehensive assessment framework focused specifically on participation is not available up to date. Therefore, this study proposed an assessment for such operational analysis in order to support assessment of consequences related to the participatory strategy chosen (e.g., increased social acceptance). A Stakeholder Participation Assessment Framework (SPAF) was developed and divided in two phases: Phase I based on key theoretical aspects ‘why, who, when and how to engage stakeholders’, as well as on criteria for costs (these five criteria were divided in 15 sub-criteria, and instructions based on social science knowledge to analyse each one were given); and Phase II in which a list of questions about participatory consequences can be addressed based on specific criteria of the first phase and stakeholders' feedback. SPAF can be used not only to evaluate MSP planning cycles but also to plan meaningful participatory processes; therefore, contributing to strengthen MSP processes and to promote more horizontal and integrated ocean governance approaches.
In post-disaster recovery phases, many communities reduce their vulnerabilities to future disasters by implementing community-based approaches. However, since these processes impact resource allocation, access to natural resources, and benefit distributions, these efforts have changed the environment and altered social relations. Therefore, this research explores how disaster empowers or disempowers stakeholders by investigating the interdependence of social relations in post-disaster natural resource management. After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the island of Koh Klang demonstrated resilience in restoring its ecosystem. We have used this as a case study featuring a community-based project. Interviews and participant observations were conducted in the field in 2014 to collect firsthand information from local residents, NGOs, and the public sector. Text and discourse analyses were conducted based on interview data, government documents, and field notes. The findings show that after a disaster, natural resources and embedded social norms form the basis for a resilient community. Using community- and ecosystem-based methods fosters a community's environmental and social resilience and prepares it to respond to future disasters. However, such methods can also transform local politics, especially when residents' inequitable vulnerabilities and access to power are coupled with jurisdictional and land tenure issues. This research recommends that disaster recovery and mitigation policies are scaled to local levels.