Conservation in Practice: The Implementation of Marine Protected Areas near Resource-Dependent Fishing Communities in Cuba
This pilot study examines the quality of MPA management and level of compliance by local resource-users that are highly dependent on the marine environment in Cuba. By reviewing existing management practices and community engagement in several different areas, my goal was to identify the most decisive characteristics that influenced local communities’ support of an MPA, and how these characteristics contributed to the effective management of a marine environment. In other words, what is necessary for MPAs to appeal to the resource-users that are impacted by the regulations, like fishermen and local residents that depend on the sea for food and livelihoods? And how can that community support increase the effectiveness of an MPA? For this pilot study I examined the realities of MPA management in Cuba by reviewing relevant literature and scientific publications, attending a panel on Cuba’s most successful MPA, conducting over 20 informal interviews, and visiting several coastal communities in Cuba. My objective was to identify key themes from Cuba’s MPA management practices that could be applicable to management of any MPA that relies on an element of community support or compliance to achieve its conservation objectives.