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Soufriere Marine Management Area, Demonstrating Successful | |Conflict Resolution, Stakeholder involvement and Multi-zoning | |practices. | |Background: Soufriere is a rural town on the southwest coast of the | |island of St. Lucia (fig 1). This area is remarkable for the | |richness and diversity of its landscape and natural resources, | |including mountains, rainforest, rivers, active volcanoes and coral | |reefs (Wulf 2000). The area of coastline being described within this| |case study extends over 12 km, with Soufriere Bay at the centre and | |beaches and cliffs either side (Wulf 2000) (fig 3). The town of | |Soufriere lies within that bay. Most habitation and most of its | |economic activities are found along a narrow coastal strip | |(Pierre-Nathoniel 2003). The coastal area contains a narrow | |underwater shelf that supports the island's near-shore fisheries | |resources. Historically local fishermen have used pots/traps; | |seines; lines and gillnets as fishing methods (Pierre-Nathoniel | |2003). Before the Soufriere Marine Management Area was setup, young | |local fishermen had started using dynamite and other forms of | |harmful fishing. With the rapid evolution of the tourism industry, | |use of the coastal zone has expanded to include yachting, SCUBA | |diving, snorkeling and coastal sightseeing (Pierre-Nathoniel 2003). | |Locals now have to share the use of this limited coastal zone, which| |can lead to disputes. The first effort to protect Soufriere was led | |by the Department of Fisheries in 1986(Pierre-Nathoniel 2003). This | |was unsuccessful, due to the lack of resources to enforce management| |regimes and non-commitment of local stakeholders. It was followed by| |a more collaborative and participatory process over an eighteen | |month period, initiated through the combined efforts of the | |Department of Fisheries and two non-governmental organisations, the | |Caribbean Natural Resources Institute the Soufriere Regional | |Development Foundation (Pierre 2003). This led eventually the | |Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) being formed in July | |1995(Pierre 2003). | |Issues analysis: In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the growing | |demand for scarce and fragile resources (Table 1) generated critical| |impacts and conflicts (Pierre 2003). The main environmental problems| |prior to the establishment of the SMMA were: degradation of coastal | |water quality, with direct implications for human health and for the| |protection of the reef ecosystem; depletion of near-shore fisheries | |resources; loss of the economic, scientific and recreational | |potential of coral reefs, particularly in the context of diving | |tourism; degradation of general environment quality, notably on or | |near beaches; pollution generated by solid waste disposal in ravines| |or directly in the sea (Wulf 2000). Problems of resource management | |manifested themselves in growing conflicts, conflicts between | |commercial dive operators and fishermen over the use of, and the | |perception of impact on, the coral reefs, conflicts between yachts | |and fishermen because of anchoring in fishing areas, conflicts | |between fishermen and authorities at both the local and national | |levels over the location of a jetty in a fishing priority area, | |conflicts between fishermen and hoteliers over the use of the | |beaches for commercial fishing or recreational, tourism oriented | |activities (Wulf 2000). Recently relevant institutions have been | |aware of these issues, and have initiated a number of programs and | |measures aimed at addressing them. These efforts included the legal | |establishment of Marine Reserves and Fishing Priority Areas, the | |provisions of support to the local Fishermen's Cooperative, the | |delivery of training and extension services, and enforcement of | |national regulations following the adoption of the new Fisheries Act| |in 1984 (Wulf 2000). Due to lack of funds and the fact that | |delimitation of reserves was based on resource distribution with too| |little thought for the socio-economic consequences for the fishers, | |conflicts continued to increase. | |Solutions: The Soufriere Marine Management Association formed under | |the Companies Act number 19 of 1996, oversees the overall management| |of the SMMA (DoF 2001). This association is guided by an 'Agreement | |to Manage the Soufriere Marine Management Area' (DoF 2001). The | |parties which entered into this agreement comprise the Board of | |Directors for the SMMA and include the following: ministry with | |responsibility for fisheries, ministry with responsibility for | |planning, development and the environment, ministry with | |responsibility for tourism, St Lucia air and sea ports authority, | |National Conservation Authority, St Lucia Dive Association, St Lucia| |Hotel and Tourism Association, Soufriere Fishermen's Cooperative, | |Soufriere Regional Development Foundation and The Soufriere Water | |Taxi Association (DoF 2001). The institutional and legal | |arrangements for the management of the SMMA are governed by the | |following idea: All parties retain individual management authority | |for areas and sectors under their jurisdiction (DoF 2001). The legal| |framework for the establishment and management of the SMMA and of | |the Fisheries Act, and ultimate responsibility, rests with the | |relevant Minister. As a result of the establishment of the SMMA, an | |eleven kilometre-length area of coastline was apportioned into | |several zones, catering to various users and uses (fig 2) | |(Pierre-Nathoniel 2003). These were- Marine Reserves: these areas | |are declared for the purpose of protecting the natural resources | |they contain, Fishing Priority Areas: these areas are declared for | |the purpose of maintaining and sustaining fishing activities, | |Multiple Use Areas: activities that may take place in these areas | |include fishing, diving, snorkelling and other recreational | |activities, Recreational Areas: these are terrestrial (beaches) and | |marine (swimming and snorkeling) areas, public access must be | |maintained, Yacht Mooring Sites: specific areas are designated to | |facilitate pleasure boats and yachts, without damaging bottom | |substrate, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds, a coral | |conservation fee is charged for the use of the moorings (Pierre | |2003). | |Lessons learned: One or more groups are accidentally or | |intentionally omitted from planning and negotiation. For example, | |several problems of enforcement of the initial agreement concerning | |marine reserves within the SMMA came from fishers who reside in | |nearby agricultural communities (and not in the coastal town of | |Soufriere as all regular fishers do) and who have the tradition of | |setting pots and diving for reef fishes seasonally, and very | |occasionally (Renard 2001). These individuals had not been | |identified in the early stages, and were thus not involved in the | |planning and decision-making process, which can cause of a lack of | |commitment (at best) or outright opposition (at worst) (Renard | |2001). | |Fair and equitable distribution of rights, responsibilities and | |benefits can be mitigated by others even when stakeholders and their| |interests are identified. In the case of the SMMA, there were eight | |fishermen who were systematically invited to all negotiation | |meetings and activities, and these individuals were assumed to | |represent all types of fishing (Renard 2001). However, and without | |this being noticed by the facilitators of the process, several of | |these fishers began to miss meetings, while the two leaders of the | |local Fisherman's Cooperative began to assume more responsibility | |and to act as the representatives for the whole fishing population | |(Renard 2001). In effect, what happened in this instance was a | |progressive return to the initial pattern of power relations within | |the fishing community, with the smallest of its members making very | |little contribution to formal negotiations (Renard 2001). |
Figures, Tables, References[pic]Figure 1. A sketch map showing the position of St Lucia in the CaribbeanSea.(Pierre-Nathoniel, 2003)[pic]Figure 2. A sketch map showing the delineation of the 11km SMMA and the usedesignation of each area. (URL 1)[pic]Figure 3. A sketch map of the island of St Lucia, showing the area of thecoast designated as the MMA. (Wulf, 2000)Table 1. A table showing the resource use, authoritative organisations andstakeholders. (Renard 2001)[pic]