Fish sanctuary as a tool for strengthening climate resilience in Jamaica – emerging research insights

Authors: Donovan Campbell*, University of the West Indies
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Natural Resources
Keywords: MPA, Caribbean, SIDs, Climate Change, Livelihoods, Small-scale Fisheries
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Strategies to foster local wellbeing and strengthen climate resilience in coastal systems are complex. Near-shore development, aquaculture intensification, the expansion of capture fisheries, and climate change (sea-level rise, acidification) are combining to produce situations of rapid coastal change. In Jamaica, the fisheries have been in decline over recent decades, which poses ecological, social and food security challenges that are being exacerbated by climate change. In response (along with other measures), the Government of Jamaica has established a network of Fish Sanctuaries to combat chronic overfishing, marine biodiversity loss and improve social wellbeing in local fishing communities. This paper highlights emerging research insights from two coastal case studies on the socio-ecological trade-offs, synergies, and co-benefits associated with Fish Sanctuaries and coastal communities in Jamaica. The research focuses on the use of interdisciplinary research tools and techniques to capture the relationships between ecosystems, their physical functions, value and the service they provide to human well-being. In each stretch of coast we are working, there are also similar and ongoing management initiatives, including co-management efforts linked to the emergence of marine conservation and protected areas, adaptation to sea-level rise, and efforts to manage interconnected uses of the coastal space (tourism, fisheries, conservation). The case studies demonstrate how interdisciplinary approaches can provide linked social-ecological insights on how best to craft and implement conservation and resource management interventions and processes (e.g., resource rights allocations, zoning for protection and use, flexible institutions) appropriately in rapidly changing coastal systems.

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