Volume 57

Using GIS Tools for Participatory Management of Coastal Resources in Laborie Bay, Saint Lucia

Smith, A.H.
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Date: November, 2004

Pages: 1-8

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

City: St. Petersburg, Florida

Country: USA


The village of Laborie on the south coast of Saint Lucia has been the site of a three-year study to investigate the relationship between people’s liveli-hoods, their involvement in the management of resource use, and the status of the coral reefs in Laborie Bay. The area is typical of many in the region where reefs provide a variety of goods and services, but until recently little information was available on their extent and status. The most recent maps of the reefs were made in the late 19 th Century and included only enough detail to identify hazards to navigation. The information that was available on marine resource use was therefore not related to specific geographic areas. This paper describes the selection and application of appropriate GIS tools and methods to integrate popular knowledge and the data from scientific research. It focuses on the need to distinguish between mapping designed to classify habitats for ecological research, and the identification and mapping of features recognized and used by fishing communities and other resource users. Mapping based on local geographic knowledge was found to be essential in the acquisition, redistribution, and analysis of information and in its application in participatory management processes. The transfer of the GIS-based project management tool to a community-managed resource is discussed.

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