Dialogue between fishermen groups and MPA officials

Publié: 28 septembre 2015
Dernière modification: 26 août 2016
When the region was set to be designated as a Reserve Zone, a Fishermen’s Association united 16 fisheries groups that had been using marine resources in the area for decades. To reduce conflicts between local people and the protected area authority, it was made clear that pre-existing rights, such as the fishermen’s, would be respected. In the technical document presented to the government for the declaration of the Reserved Zone, it was clearly stated that groups organized through the fishermen’s association historically used the area’s marine resources. During the Reserve Zone categorization process, the government defines the final category and extent of the protected area based on conservation objectives and imposes natural resource use restrictions. In principle, this is when local participation, dialogue and scientific data have to be considered to decide the future management scheme of the protected area. Several meetings were held with each of the fishermen groups and their association to explain the different protected area categories provided by the legal system. Thanks to the participatory process, San Fernando was declared as a National Reserve and the local fishermen felt involved and heard in the process.

Classifications

Category
Renforcement de la cogestion
Partenariat
Scale of implementation
Local
Intranational
Phase of solution
Mise en oeuvre

Enabling factors

The vision and commitment of people involved and leading the dialogue process remained consistent, which built trust in relationships among those involved. In case the people in charge change, previous agreements must be respected and it becomes particularly important to have them written down.

Lessons learned

The processes of establishing, categorizing and zoning the San Fernando Reserved Zone shows that participatory processes take longer but lead to more legitimate agreements which are more respected by those who participated in the process. It is important to record agreements, taking minutes of the meetings and if possible of the positions of the different parties, in order to document consistency of the different actors’ positions. Discussions and negotiations of complex issues must take place at appropriate locations. A General Assembly open to the public is ideal for generating a sense of openness and to disseminate general information. Ideally, preparatory meetings are held prior to the Assembly, with the representatives of the associations so they have advance information and their positions are known to each other. Do not create expectations that cannot be met. Be transparent with information.

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