Volume 58

Tobago Cay Marine Park: Are Conditions for Successful Co-management Likely to be Met?

Simmons, B.
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Date: November, 2005

Pages: 513-514

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Eighth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres

Country: Colombia


The Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) is located in the Grenadines island chain at the southern end of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, (SVG). The Park’s islands, reefs and shallows cover almost 15 nautical square miles, mostly within the 10 fathom depth contour, including five uninhabited Cays. The Cays are of great ecological, economic, social, and cultural importance to SVG. In 1997 the Cays were acquired by the SVG government and declared a marine park; currently it is under the management of a multi-stakeholder board selected by Cabinet. Despite various projects and proposals to revamp the park, the board of management and small field staff struggled with inadequate capacity and equipment to manage the Park. The area has being undergoing systematic degradation and has recently suffered impacts from hurricanes Ivan and Emily. As it is heavily used for marine tourism, it also provides the main source of income for the inhabitants of nearby communities on Mayreau and Union Island who recently opposed a governmental initiative to privatise management of the park. The case study seeks to identify conditions that would optimize the chances for successful co-management of the TCMP. In order to determine this, interviews and focus groups were conducted with user groups and members of the management board. Secondary data analysis was undertaken. The TCMP is seen by some as “paper park”, with no real implementation. Local communities are aware of this situation and are attempting to have their voices heard by insisting that they play a role in the management decision-making process in order to make the Park more successful. Despite this initiative, co-management may have little chance of success unless State authorities facilitate more meaningful stakeholder involvement.

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