[Coral-List] voluntary standards and economic valuation

deevon at bellsouth.net deevon at bellsouth.net
Sat Feb 26 10:20:03 EST 2005

Cheryl Chen:  

There are many instances where voluntary standards have worked to help protect coral reefs.  

At Key West-area coral reefs, beginning in 1987, Reef Relief, a non-profit grassroots organization,  installed a system that over a few years grew (along with the charterboat fleet) to 116 buoys at 7 Key West-area coral reefs.  In our buoy charts, we encouraged buoy users to not feed the fish, harvest, or stand on the reef.  The charterboat captains would all help monitor use and would radio any boat whose guests or simply tell the guests in the water, if they were within earshot, what the unofficial rules were.  Some of the captains carried extra pick-up lines and would help maintain the system when they spotted a pick-up line that was frayed and needed to be replaced.  We asked the captains to provide 'float coats" or life vests to their guests to reduce standing on the reef when adjusting gear and that is now the norm.   We turned the system over the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary several years ago and these reefs, with one exception, are all official no-take zones now. 

In Negril, Jamaica, we worked with the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society (NCRPS) to establish a marine protected area that began with reef mooring buoy installations in 1990, launching environmental workshops and education programs for captains, visitors and students in 1992.  Next we helped arrange for Reef Relief Scientific advisors to survey the reefs and train the Reef Rangers to monitor the water quality.  Now the NCRPS is the official manager of the Negril Marine Park.   They have the authority to enforce what were once the voluntary rules of proper reef etiquette. A user fee was recently approved to fund the operation. 

When Reef Relief installed reef mooring buoys in Guanaja, in the Bay Islands of Honduras, in cooperation with the Guanaja Tourism Association, the local citizens leading the effort created an unofficial Guanaja Marine Reserve, including the area where the mooring buoys were installed.  Rules for the reserve were printed in the buoy chart we created and distributed to area resorts.  The "voluntary" rules were, for the most part, followed and guests were asked to donate a dollar as they disembarked from the plane onto the island.  Most visitors gladly contributed. The proceeds were applied to fund the buoy program. 

In Green Turtle Cay, in the Abacos, Bahamas, Reef Relief also installed reef mooring buoys in cooperation with the Green Turtle Cay Foundation.  We produced a buoy chart indicating that the buoyed reefs are "voluntary" no take zones.  We ask those who use the public moorings to refrain from harvesting.  The acceptance has been wonderful and community members have approached us to install more moorings, but then noted that perhaps not because they would want to fish on them, indicating that there is power in the printed word.  Recently, overfishing has become an issue and some local fishermen blame the buoys; but our entire approach has been exactly the opposite; leave the reef as you found it so that the next visitor can enjoy the experience you had. 

Our experience is that if you can establish strong local support amongst the frequent reef users, voluntary "rules" can be applied and for the most part, they will be honored.   See the language in the various buoy charts for these areas  at www.reefrelief.org.

DeeVon Quirolo, Executive Director, Reef Relief 

At 10:14 AM 2/23/2005 -0500, you wrote:

Cheryl Chen,
You asked about MPA literature re: voluntary standards in marine recreation, and also for economic valuation of reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

I'd recommend searching relevant terms in the keyword field of the MPA Virtual Library:

Here are some terms featured on that database's 'keyword browse page' (http://www.mpa.gov/virtual_library/keywords_a_c.html) which could be copied into the keyword field for searches:
Barrier reefs
local communities
Marine parks and reserves -- Economic aspects
recreation areas
recreational fishing
stakeholder participation
value analysis
(Also, the relevant individual country names can be searched (Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize)

Some relevant citations in the MPA Library which include discussion of voluntary approaches include:
Jones, P. J. S., "Marine nature reserves in Britain: past lessons, current status and future issues", Marine Policy 23, 4-5 (1999): 375-396.

Gubbay, Susan, Marine Protected Areas: Principles and Techniques for Management. London: Chapman and Hall, 1995.

Some citations re: Mesoamerican reef system, which might merit examination for voluntary standards/value analysis info:

Carter, J., J. Gibson and A. Carr, "Creation of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize: a grass-roots approach to barrier reef conservation", Environmental Professional 16, 3 (1994): 220-231.

Reveles Gonzalez, B., and Tomas Luhrssemarnat Camarena, "La reserva de la biosfera banco chinchorro" Proceedings of the Fifty-Fourth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, November 2001, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. Fort Pierce, Florida: Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, 2003. (pp762-779).
(Note: Scroll to the 34th page of the PDF image file to view this paper.)

Re: voluntary standards, one might also browse the "Organizations and Institutions - Nongovernmental" page on the MPA web site:

Kathy Kelly (InfoCurrent contractor)
Marine-Protected Areas (MPA) Librarian
NOAA Central Library
1315 East-West Highway
SSMC-3, 2nd Floor, E/OC4
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-713-2607 x117
Kathleen.A.Kelly at noaa.gov

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DeeVon Quirolo, Executive Director, Reef Relief, a non profit grassroots membership organization dedicated to "Preserve and Protect Living Coral Reef Ecosystems through local, regional and international efforts."
Reef Relief Environmental Center, 201 William St. P.O. Box 430, Key West, Florida 33041. Tel (305) 294-3100 Fax (305) 293-9515. www.reefrelief.org. Captain Roland Roberts Environmental Center, New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas Tel/fax (242)365-4014. 
Do you want to make a difference for coral reefs? With a stroke of your keyboard, you can!  Join Reef Relief's E-list. It's free, it's easy. Go to our website to sign onto our mailing list. That's all it takes and you'll receive regular e-alerts with information about coral reef issues, opportunities to take action, and more..... 

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