Are Caribbean MPAs making progress toward their goals and objectives?

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Regional efforts have increased the number and amount of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Caribbean, yet few studies have examined how these MPAs are progressing toward their goals and objectives. Using social and ecological data from a rapid assessment of 31 MPAs and their associated human communities in the wider Caribbean, this study investigates (1) the stated social and ecological objectives of MPAs; (2) the extent to which MPAs are making progress toward their stated social and ecological objectives; and (3) tradeoffs in progress toward social and ecological objectives. Findings indicate that Caribbean MPAs have multiple objectives related to both social and ecological conditions, and that most MPAs are making at least some progress towards achieving these objectives. Those MPAs with stated objectives to promote education and serve as a model for other MPAs seem to be making good progress on these objectives, while those with the objective of reducing conflict are not. Where MPAs are not meeting their goals and objectives, planners and managers should consider reallocating human and financial resources to address deficiencies and re-evaluating existing goals and objectives. It is important to consider how existing marine protected areas are performing as efforts in the Caribbean region and elsewhere continue to promote the establishment of new MPAs.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Policy