As marine protected areas (MPAs) are applied in poor countries, and in particular in Mnazi Bay, Tanzania, managers recognize that the success of the MPA in protecting fish, biodiversity, and reefs stems from the response of local people – whether that response comes from direct enforcement activities or from incentives to cooperate with new restrictions. In Mnazi Bay, managers are combining enforcement of new regulations on fishing locations and technology with investments in community-based projects and resource management councils and widespread education efforts. In the terrestrial setting, integrated development-conservation projects (ICDPs) typically failed due to a lack of linkage between the development projects and conservation incentives and goals, leaving the development projects as compensation for losses associated with enforcement of access restrictions. MPA implementation seeks to avoid such failures and induce cooperation by focusing on projects that rely on healthy oceans and mangrove forests in addition to providing new technologies like larger mesh nets.
The specific objectives of this research project are to improve the sustainable management of Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Park through both the creation of incentives for villages to cooperate with access restrictions, and improved prioritization of MPA spending; and to reduce poverty in villages adjacent to the marine park through improved incentives created by MPA-sponsored projects linked to MPA access restrictions.
This project will develop models informed by the Mnazi Bay setting to describe the policies needed to establish cooperation amongst villagers to improve the success of MPAs. These models will reflect the spatial characteristics of the coastal fishing setting, the interactions amongst villagers, the role of enforcement, and the creation of incentives for cooperation. By enabling Mnazi Bay MPA managers to prioritise their spending in particular villages and on particular activities more effectively, the project aims to improve both the ecological contribution of the MPA and nearby villagers’ livelihoods.
The project will be implemented in Mnazi Bay, on the coast of Tanzania, adjacent to Mozambique. The findings will have relevance to many MPAs that share the characteristics of involving a number of different villages along an MPA coastline.