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Learning through experience: Non-implementation and the challenges of protected area conservation in The Bahamas


  • Wise, Sarah P.


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly promoted as policy tools to counter such problems as declining fisheries, habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss. Many proposed MPAs become stalled in the implementation process, highlighting the need for further research into the processes leading to non-implementation. This paper focuses on two proposed MPAs in The Bahamas undergoing protected area enclosure: one highly controversial MPA in North Bimini that was proposed in 2000, but with an uncertain future; and a second enclosure in Andros Island initiated in 2002 and enlarged in 2009 after years of outreach and assessment. Although both locations seek to protect an area of shallow seas within The Bahamas archipelago, each area is significantly different in its management goals as well as social and institutional frameworks. A comparison of the two MPAs underscores the challenges in implementing changes in marine governance while illustrating opportunities for adaptive social learning in resource management processes. There are three goals to this analysis: (1) to explore the processes leading to non-implementation of proposed MPAs; (2) to identify some conditions for success and failure of MPAs within The Bahamian context; and (3) to search for evidence of individual and institutional learning in how conservation agents have approached the later Andros MPA. Research suggests that while there may be ample opportunity to learn from failed conservation attempts, individual and institutional constraints inhibit successful conservation planning frequently leading to non-implementation.

Suggested Citation

  • Wise, Sarah P., 2014. "Learning through experience: Non-implementation and the challenges of protected area conservation in The Bahamas," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 111-118.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:46:y:2014:i:c:p:111-118
    DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2014.01.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fanning, Lucia & Mahon, Robin & McConney, Patrick, 2013. "Applying the large marine ecosystem (LME) governance framework in the Wider Caribbean Region," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 99-110.
    2. Stelzenmüller, Vanessa & Breen, Patricia & Stamford, Tammy & Thomsen, Frank & Badalamenti, Fabio & Borja, Ángel & Buhl-Mortensen, Lene & Carlstöm, Julia & D’Anna, Giovanni & Dankers, Norbert & Degraer, 2013. "Monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas: A generic framework for implementation of ecosystem based marine management and its application," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 149-164.
    3. Chuenpagdee, Ratana & Pascual-Fernández, Jose J. & Szeliánszky, Emese & Luis Alegret, Juan & Fraga, Julia & Jentoft, Svein, 2013. "Marine protected areas: Re-thinking their inception," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 234-240.
    4. Chuenpagdee, Ratana & Jentoft, Svein, 2007. "Step zero for fisheries co-management: What precedes implementation," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 657-668, November.
    5. Leisher, Craig & Mangubhai, Sangeeta & Hess, Sebastiaan & Widodo, Hesti & Soekirman, Tri & Tjoe, Salomina & Wawiyai, Stevanus & Neil Larsen, S. & Rumetna, Lukas & Halim, A. & Sanjayan, M., 2012. "Measuring the benefits and costs of community education and outreach in marine protected areas," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1005-1011.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jennifer A. Martin & Summer Gray & Eréndira Aceves-Bueno & Peter Alagona & Tammy L. Elwell & Angela Garcia & Zach Horton & David Lopez-Carr & Jessica Marter-Kenyon & Karly Marie Miller & Christopher S, 2019. "What is marine justice?," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 9(2), pages 234-243, June.


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