Inter-American Environmental Program: Advancing Coastal and Marine Management in the Caribbean
In collaboration with partners at Sustainable Grenadines, Inc. and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, ELI is engaged in several projects to strengthen marine governance and management across the Caribbean region.
With support from the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), in 2013 ELI conducted a review and gap analysis of laws and regulations related to marine protected area (MPA) enforcement in eight Caribbean countries: Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos Islands. Our final report incorporates details about enforcement tools such as enforcement authority, powers of authorized officers, and penalties, and is intended to facilitate improved sharing of best MPA enforcement practices among various Caribbean nations.
To assist with efforts to strengthen reef management in the region, ELI is making recommendations for changes to Grenada's MPA governance structure, including bolstering the legal authority of existing co-management structures through which local stakeholders are integrated into the decision-making process. We are also working with the Grenada Fisheries Division and MPA enforcement officers to strengthen their understanding of MPA legislation and to help ensure that the officials are equipped to enforce the regulations that have been established for the MPAs.
In November 2011, ELI helped organize and facilitate a workshop on MPA enforcement in Grenada, where ELI presented on the basics of marine law enforcement and methods to promote compliance through outreach efforts and communication campaigns. ELI has also developed materials for MPA wardens to support their enforcement efforts in the MPAs, including a script for officials to use when approaching suspected violators and a comprehensive list of illegal activities in each MPA. This work was conducted in partnership with Sustainable Grenadines, Inc.
Our work establishing a framework for multiuse marine zoning in the Grenadines is intended to inform Grenada and SVG's efforts to implement marine zoning and marine spatial planning (MSP) in their oceans. Marine spatial planning is an emerging ocean management tool that plans for and allocates multiple uses of the marine environment in a coordinated and spatially-explicit manner. The need for MSP has emerged out of the realization that most nations currently manage their marine environment on a sector-by-sector basis, which can result in conflicts among sectors and can also have cumulative, harmful impacts on the surrounding ecosystem. Using a marine zoning process, analogous to the terrestrial strategy of land use planning, can help ensure that marine-based activities are coordinated and carried out in a way that minimizes impacts to the marine environment.
Like other nations that have explored marine spatial planning, Grenada and SVG both already have laws that can be used to facilitate this new type of marine management. However, carrying out marine spatial planning in the Grenadines poses a particular challenge given that the islands are transboundary - spanning two independent nations. This means that MSP in the Grenadine Bank must be implemented and enforced across international borders.
To help both countries move forward with MSP, ELI is identifying existing policies and laws that can be used to support a collaborative, transboundary approach to marine spatial planning in the region in the region. We are also identifying gaps and barriers to MSP implementation that currently exist as a result of the fragmented marine management approach in the region. Ultimately, ELI will use its legal and policy analysis to make a series of recommendations for actions to be taken in order to legally implement marine zoning and marine spatial planning in Grenada and SVG.
This work was conducted in partnership with Sustainable Grenadines, Inc. In addition to our collaboration with SusGren, we are working in concert with members of the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of the West Indies.
ELI's efforts in the Caribbean are ongoing, and examples of our work in this region will be posted here as they are completed. ELI's Caribbean staff consists of Senior Attorneys Sandra Nichols and John Pendergrass, Visiting Attorney Greta Swanson, and Research Associate Ariana Spawn. For more information about what ELI staff are doing to enhance coastal and marine management around the world, visit our Ocean Program.
If you have any questions or comments about our work in the Caribbean, please contact Ariana Spawn.