Volume 73

Community-based natural resource management in Roatan

Rivera, A; C. Torres; T. Varela; B. Twohey; G. Ochoa; N. Bach; F. Lean; I. Drysdale; T. Amaya; J. Myton
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Date: November, 2020

Pages: 47-48

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Three Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Virtual

Country: Virtual


Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) has been heralded as an effective governance approach to manage the commons. Nonetheless, establishing CBNRM in Latin America and the Caribbean has posed a series of challenges. The governance process in the Bay Island National Marine Park (Honduras), particularly in the island of Roatan, provides an opportunity to evaluate a successful applied example of CBNRM within a Marine Protected Area in the Caribbean. As part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, most of Roatan’s revenue comes from reef-related tourism. Like many protected areas in the Region, the Bay Island National Marine Park was initially governed through a conventional top-down approach. Nonetheless, in the early 2000s the system began to transition towards CBNRM. To assess the enabling conditions that led to an established CBNRM in Roatan we analyzed stakeholders’ perceptions through one on one open-ended interviews with key stakeholder and structured closed-ended questionnaires. Perceptions on effectiveness of patrols and satisfaction with the management of natural resources have increased steadily in the past decade and appear to have stabilized around a 70% satisfaction rate in the past 3 years. According to stakeholders, local NGOs have been key in driving this transition. Additionally, CBNRM in Roatan has excelled in 5 governance principles: 1. Public trust and legitimacy; 2. Research and information development; 3. Monitoring, feedback and accountability; 4. Enabling environment and 5. Conflict resolution and cooperation, while still maintaining positive perceptions of the other 7 principles (37 – 49% level of agreement). The Roatan case study highlights the importance of strengthening local organizations and developing trust among stakeholders to achieve CBNRM, which can often be a long-term process.

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