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Sustainable financing of a national Marine Protected Area network in Fiji

Ison, Sierra, Hills, Jeremy, Morris, Cherie, Stead, Selina M.
Ocean & coastal management 2018
United Nations, fisheries, food security, funding, governance, income, interviews, marine protected areas, marine resources, markets, models, stakeholders, sustainable development, willingness to pay, Fiji
Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are mostly studied from an environmental context. A review of available information identified a lack of knowledge in sustainable mechanisms to finance MPA networks. At the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017, Fiji reaffirmed its voluntary commitment to make 30% of its inshore and offshore marine area MPAs by 2020 under Sustainable Development Goal 14. The work presented here uses empirical data to explore potential benefits from selected community-based MPAs to recipient local stakeholders. A Willingness to Pay (WTP) and Willingness to Contribute Time (WtCT) method was used to explore the extent to which bottom-up governance systems represent a potential financing mechanism of a MPA network. Results of 115 interviews concluded that proximity to a fishing market, dependence on marine resources, food security, income and international commitments were significant variables influencing stakeholder's WTP and WtCT to manage a MPA. We argue that there is a discrepancy between WtCT and WTP driven by income constraints. Thus, by using WTP and WtCT to support financing of a MPA network, a Provincial Trust Fund (PTF) could promote an equitable and benefits-based contribution. Equally important, a PTF has a polycentric and decentralized governance model, which endorses sustainable management of traditional fishing communities. The conclusions provide insight into a bottom-up approach for long-term financial sustainability of Fiji's national MPA commitments.