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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collaborating in the marine realm : principles and practices for better outcomes in marine reserve decision-making : an evaluation of the Florida Keys Tortugas 2000 process Bicego, Sandra Nichela


The need for more focused approaches to both restoring and protecting marine biodiversity, habitats and fisheries has led to an upsurge of interest in the use of no-take zones, or "reserves" as marine planning tools. Despite careful scientific planning, marine reserves tend to generate a high level of public conflict and often fail to achieve their objectives because planners do not effectively include the people and the societal dynamics surrounding a marine proposal. Marine reserve experts emphasize that 'the human element, including stakeholder involvement in the planning stages for marine reserves, is critical in determining whether a marine reserve will successfully meet its objectives or whether it will result in resentment and non-compliance by individuals and communities that face restrictions on current and future uses (NRC 2001, 12).' It is the meaningful involvement of interested parties early in decisionmaking processes that dictate whether or not, and to what extent, marine reserves will proceed to designation and be supported into the future. The goal of this thesis is to identify the principles and practices of collaboration that lead to meaningful stakeholder involvement in marine reserve planning processes, which in turn facilitate greater support for processes and their outcomes. A review of wellknown literature on multistakeholder decision-making in the fields of natural resources planning identifies key principles which could be applied to marine reserve establishment. A framework of eight overarching principles is assembled from the literature to meet the thesis goal. The framework is applied to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to evaluate the collaborative efforts of the Tortugas 2000 WG process. The findings show that the Tortugas 2000 process provides an example of successful collaborative marine reserve planning and decision-making. The case study provides strong confirmation of the kind of principles and practices that are effective in ensuring a meaningful, fair and comprehensive process, which in turn facilitates greater stakeholder buy-in to the process and support for agreed outcomes. The strengths discussed in the final chapter support the utility of the framework as a guide for planners to both evaluate and design collaborative marine planning processes.

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