Marine protected area impacts on livelihoods and marine resource use: Belizean case study
This study addresses a case where the implementation of a local zoning program raised the prospect of value conflicts among various types of natural resource users. The problem structure for this case study investigation concerns the value conflicts that arise from scaling down an international ecosystem based management program (e.g. Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System) to a local level Belizean marine protected area (MPA) zoning project (e.g. Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve) implemented through a national Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) strategy. Fieldwork in 2004-2005 documented the changes that occurred to local livelihoods in the conservation, fishery, and tourism sectors. I identified key informants through the snowball sampling methodology that allowed all resource users who use the Bacalar Chico area for their primary source of livelihood to be identified. I used a structured interview protocol to elicit information about livelihoods and marine resource use before and after implementation of the MPA zonal system. I collected fishery and tourism effort data using a pile sort method and spatial information using a map biography method. I used relational database software and a geographic information system geodatabase to analyze data and determine patterns of use before and after zonal system implementation as well as trends over time. The modifications to coastal and ocean governance regimes changed local livelihoods. Implementation of the MPA reduced fishery pressure on many commercial fish species, and increased pressure on some species targeted by tourist sport fishing boats. Some locals benefited as conservation and tourist use expanded, while others lost jobs in the fishery sector. The results of this research indicate that MPA's affect livelihoods and shift use from commercial fishing to conservation and tourist use of the reef. Geographic information system analyses of informant map biographies indicate that the spatial patterns of livelihood activities changed within the boundaries of each respective MPA. Evidence suggests protected area networks can be effective in promoting societal goals for conservation and development if geographic, institutional, and social factors are included in the design process. The need to address equity among resource users emerges as the key to successful design of MPA's.
0615: Political science
0768: Environmental science