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1 CONSERVATION AND SUS TAINABLE USE OF MARI NE RESOURCES IN KUNA YALA, PANAMA By STEFANIE HOEHN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Stefanie Hoehn
3 To Henry, for all your patience and support.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thi s project was made possible by the help of several people. I would l ike to thank my chair advisor, Brijesh Thapa, for his continued support throughout this process and his never ending patience in figuring out specific topics for this paper. I would also like to thank my supervisory committee, Rick Stepp and Taylor Stein, for their input, suggestions and support. I would also like to express my gratitude to the TCD Field Research Grant and the Tinker Travel Grant for sponsoring this research. Without their support, it would not have been possible to undertake this kind of r esearch in such a remote area. I would also like to acknowledge CODESTA who enabled me to undertake my research in Kuna Yala and especially their Program Director Rogeliano Solis, who introduced me to the sailas and other local authorities, prepared them f or my arrival and supported me in every sense. Further, I would like to thank Arcadio Bonilla, who se help as local translator, guide, and right hand throughout the field research is greatly appreciated. I could have never been as successful without his hel p. My gratitude also goes to FUSPU and its members for allowing me to conduct research in the six villages and for giving me their support. Finally, I would like to thank my family. I thank my parents for their belief in me, and for their love and support even during hard times. I thank my partner and soulmate Henry, whose patience and support kept me on track of things and never let me miss see ing the bright side of life.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................................ 7 LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................................. 8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .............................................................................................................. 9 ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................................ 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 12 2 SOCIO ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF INDIGENOUS FISHING COMMUNITIES: THE CASE OF KUNA YALA, PANAMA .............................................................................. 16 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 16 Baseline Information Assessment ....................................................................................... 18 Case Study: Community Based Conservation in Kuna Yala, Panama ............................ 19 Study Site ............................................................................................................................. 20 Purpose of Study .................................................................................................................. 23 Methods ....................................................................................................................................... 24 Data Collection .................................................................................................................... 24 Instrumentation .................................................................................................................... 25 Data Analysis ....................................................................................................................... 26 Results .......................................................................................................................................... 26 Population Demographics ................................................................................................... 26 Economic Activities ............................................................................................................ 29 Socio Cultural Issues ........................................................................................................... 34 Governance .......................................................................................................................... 35 Discussion .................................................................................................................................... 37 Completion of Baseline Information .................................................................................. 37 Implications .......................................................................................................................... 40 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 42 3 ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF KUNA FISHERMEN TOWARDS MARINE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ................................................................................................. 49 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 49 Importance of Local Attitudes and Perceptions ................................................................. 51 Perceptions of Regulations and Compliance ..................................................................... 53 Statement of Problem .......................................................................................................... 54 Purp ose of Study .................................................................................................................. 55
6 Methods ....................................................................................................................................... 55 Study Site ............................................................................................................................. 55 Data Collection .................................................................................................................... 57 Instrumentation .................................................................................................................... 57 Data Analysis ....................................................................................................................... 58 Results .......................................................................................................................................... 60 Profile of Participants .......................................................................................................... 60 General Attitudes and Perceptions ...................................................................................... 61 Awareness and Percept ions of Existing Regulations ........................................................ 65 Discussion .................................................................................................................................... 68 General Perceptions ............................................................................................................. 68 Implications and Recommendations ................................................................................... 71 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 73 4 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................................... 81 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE ................................................................................................................. 83 B CRITERIA FOR BASELINE ASSESSMENT ......................................................................... 86 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................................................................................................... 87 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................................. 93
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Community-level demography including age, gender and number of inhabitants ............ 43 2 2 Household demographics ....................................................................................................... 43 2 3 Level of education by males and females ............................................................................. 43 2 4 Primary occupations by community ..................................................................................... 43 2 5 Infrastructure and businesses in the communities ................................................................ 44 2 6 Traditional economic use of six uninhabited islands ........................................................... 44 3 1 Sample size of study population............................................................................................ 76 3 2 Demographic characteristics of study population ................................................................ 76 3 3 Importance of marine resources to people ............................................................................ 76 3 4 Perception of change of marine conditions .......................................................................... 76 3 5 Threats to marine resources ................................................................................................... 77 3 6 Identified problems with current marine resource management ......................................... 77 3 7 Identified solutions to improve marine resource management ........................................... 77 3 8 Pluriactivity of respondents ................................................................................................... 78 3 9 Participation in decision -making processes .......................................................................... 78 3 10 Knowledge of regulations by community............................................................................. 78 3 11 Knowledge of regulations by resource utilization ................................................................ 78 3 12 Knowledge of regulations by participation .......................................................................... 79
8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Map of P anama and Kuna Yala ( marked re d) .................................................................... 45 2 2 Detailed map of the research area. ....................................................................................... 45 2 3 Detailed age pyramid for all six com munities ..................................................................... 46 2 4 List of most frequently caught fish and seafood species .................................................... 46 2 5 Change in a mounts of l obster caught in pounds per day : 1990 and 2007 .......................... 47 2 6 Chang e of price per pound of lobster : 1990 and 2007 ......................................................... 47 2 7 Tour ist arrivals and type of stay in Digir, 2006 ................................................................... 47 2 8 Visitors to Digir by geographic region, 2006 ....................................................................... 48 3 1 Hand -painted signs indic ating marine conservation areas ................................................... 80 3 2 Beach cleaning project : Before and a fte r .............................................................................. 80
9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS CBD Convention on Biological Diversity CGK Congres o Gener al Kuna, [ Kuna General Congress ] CODESTA Conservacin y Desarollo Sostenible en Accin [Conservation and Sustainable Development in Action] FUSPU F uerza Unida de Seis Pueblos, [ United Force of Six Viallges ] IMR Income is mainly derived from marine r esources IOS Income is mainly derived from other sources than marine IPAT Instituto Paname o de Turismo, [ Panamanian Institute of Tourism ] IUCN World Conservation Union MPA Marine Protected Area PDO Private Development Organization pph Persons per househol d RPMK Re d de Patrimonio Marino Kuna, [ Kuna Marine Patrimony Reserve ] STRI Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute WCPA World Commission on Protected Areas WWF World Wildlife Fund
10 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of F lorida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts CONSERVATION AND SUS TAINABLE USE OF MARI NE RESOURCES IN KUNA YALA, PANAMA By Stefanie Hoehn May 2009 Chair: Brijesh Thapa Major: Latin American Studies Ov er 50% of the worlds population today lives in coastal areas, which poses increasing pressure on the marine environment. Overfishing, coastal erosion, pollution and recreational misuse are among the most severe threats especially faced by coral reef ecosy stems. While Marine Protected Areas are established to mitigate these threats, management performance overall has remained low. Frequently, conflicts arise where local populations are not adequately included in management processes. While participation of local and indigenous groups in decision -making and planning is increasingly emphasized in the scientific community, it is still often only marginalized. This study presents local resource use patterns and perceptions and attitudes towards marine resource m anagement of six indigenous fishing communities in Kuna Yala, Panama. The Kuna are the sole owners of their marine resources, and have developed their own management strategies to address pressing issues such as overfishing, pollution, and coral extraction. T he first part of this study assesse d socio-economic benchmark data to support the Kuna in the creation of a solid data foundation of demographic, economic, cultural, and governmental inform ation. The second s ection of the study focused on a ssessment of knowledge of local attitudes and perceptions with regards to management practices. Issues were analyzed based on geographic
11 location, profession, role in decision-making, culture, and conservationrel ated awareness. Data were collected in the summer of 2007 among six marine dependent communities within the indigen ous territories of the Kuna in northeastern Panama. Methods included secondary literature, in -depth interviews with selected participants, un structured interviews with key stakeholders, and participant observation. Probing questions were based on selective themes such as, perception of threats to marine resources, awareness of issues and problems with management, and identified solutions A primary compilation of baseline information showed the importance of creating a solid foundation of baseline data for monitoring purposes and to target conservation measures more effectively. This assessment served as a foundation for in dep th thematic analyses on attitudes and perceptions of fishermen towards marine resource management. Results highlighted significant comparative differences among selected variables. General socio -cultural structures of communities reflected their attitudes and perceptions of marine resource use (e.g. impact of culture and traditions). Age, cultural changes and new needs, as well as spiritual belief, played instrumental roles among divers. Participation in local decision -making processes had positive impacts on levels of knowledge, information, and fostered critical thinking among participants. Beyond these findings, results also denoted that conservation and development was more effective in the long term if the host population could develop strategies and p lans for biodiversity conservation. Ownership and empowerment were strong indicators to influence local livelihood to promote sustainable use of marine resources. The utilization of indigenous knowledge and local involvement in planning were some of the ma jor managerial implications with respect to effective management of marine and coastal resources
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Conservation and development organizations have emphasized the importance to include community participation for the management of protected areas (PAs), however participation often remains only instrumental: communities are expected to participate in the implementation of management initiatives, but are frequently excluded from design and decision-making processes (Ver meulen & Sheil 2007; Diegues 2008). Plans and strategies are mostly formulated and developed by outside experts, who are often not familiar with the livelihoods and needs of the local population. Results of community-based conservation and development (Tallis e t al. 2008) illustrate the dilemma experienced by conservation and development experts: Pressures and constraints are imposed by funding organizations to foster the notion that expert -led strategies a re most effective Plans frequently have to be pre -defined and ac tivities planned adequately in order to remain within given limits of time and content. Local partnerships are emphasized, but pre defined plans and strategies are perceived t o be more secure with regard s to project success than locally based approaches (Tapela et al. 2007). Further, true partnerships are time -in tens ive However, it is especially this expert led approach and the limited involvement of local communities that frequently lead to project failures. Despite the claim that this paradigm ha s changed towards integra tion of local people, only few successful examples exist ( J eanrenaud 2002; Brown 2003; Chapin 2004) Th us, th e dilemma remains that limited integration inhibits long -term success as local people t end to abandon imposed conservation measures as soon as a project is terminated. Conversely, total participation might not create the anticipated results and can hinder towards ensuring funding from donor organizations.
13 This research argues that, if certai n approaches are changed, locally -based conservation and development can indeed be more successful. While challenges to conservation and development have been much discussed, this study emphasizes two aspects to improve and thereby contribute to overall hi gher success rates in the achievement of dual conservation and development goals. T he focal areas of this study are: Assessment of baseline information to provide a general foundation on local livelihoods, socio -economic issues and resource use p atterns In -depth analysis of attitudes and perceptions towards marine resource use and management A deeper understanding of local communities, their livelihoods, resource use practices and economic development, is a crucial aspect that is often not given s ufficient consideration (Barrett 2001; Berkes 2004; Robinson 2007). This understanding includes socio-economic, demographic, and cultural baseline information with relevance to the respective involved communities. This preliminary assessment of baseline information h elps conservation practitioners to gain a structured overview into local systems and livelihood strategies. It also creates a foundation for the development of socio-economic indicators that are needed to undertake monitoring activities. If this demographi c, economic, cultural, and environmental data is compiled by local stak eholders (with outside support) it can also create a sense of ownership towards the resource, and can foster community empowerment and stewardship Furthermore, a comprehensive foundation of socio-econ omic information will be of great use in the application of the adaptive management concept. In this context, p eriodic assessments can help to detect changes in livelihoods, resource use patterns, or cultural change and thereby target and adjust conservat ion and development activities Given that local stakeholders are the impetus of the activities this can trigger long-term maintenance of monitoring or other activities.
14 However, assessment of general socio -economic information is not enough. Conservation and development activities can only be successful if differences in communities and within groups are understood, and if local concerns and priorities are c onsidered in all planning and management activities. Therefore i t is important to assess loc al attitudes, perceptions, and concerns that are related to natural resource use and management, because any interventions must complement local livelihood strategies and must be embedded in the local cultur al traditions (Bunce & Pomeroy 2003; Cinner & Pollnac 2004). This can in turn only be accomplished if areas of conflict and local priorities are known, and also if local stakeholders remain the p rincipal actors in the initiatives. The case study that provides the stage for this research consists of six indigenous fishing c ommunities in Kuna Yala, Panama: Wargandup, Akuanusadup, Nargana, Digir, Tikantiki, and Maguebgandi. The Kunas extraordinary status as a sovereign territory within the country and o ffers clearly identified property rights that provide for a fundamental basis as these facts frequently contribute to conflicts. A s clearly defined owners of their land and the respective resources, the Kuna have adapted ways to use their marine resources in a sustainable manner while simultaneously preserv ing their cultural heritage. Their success in the maintenance of politica l and economic independence is the result of strict laws that limit outside influence that includes non -governmental organi zations and research institutes. Also, any type of work within Kuna Yala needs previ ous approval of the Kuna Congress. This approach has granted the Kuna sole ownership over their resource management and thereby ensures them full partnership with organizations. Based on this background this study has focused on these two issues. Chapter two provides a baseline assessment of socio -economic information in the six villages. The m ain
15 issues that arise throughout the primary data collection are highlighted such as limited data availability and the importance of local contributions. Findings are tailored to existing local conditions and to advance local Kuna initiatives with regard to conservation of marine resources while protecting their cultural heritage. Chapter three focuses on the in depth analysis of community perceptio ns and attitudes towards marine resource use and current management practices. Emphasis was given to identify differences between communities and professions, and among different levels of participation. Further, attitudes and perceptions were analyzed wit h respect to local regulations and compliance issues. Overall, this information will assist conservation and development projects to become more successful as some of the most pressing reasons for failure (lack of knowledge of local issues, lack of partici pation, conflicts) may be mitigated.
16 CHAPTER 2 SOCIO ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF INDIGE NOUS FISHING COMMUNITIES: THE CASE OF KUNA YALA, P ANAMA Introduction Conservation and development initiatives are based on the theory that their dual social and environment al goals are mutually compatible (Berkes 2006). T o ensure these goals are being met t he results of conservation and development aims need to be measured at both the socio economic and the biological level Yet, it is difficult to assess changes at both en ds and measure how activities at the conservation level might affect local livelihoods and vice versa. Conservation today almost inevitably affects people. However, monitoring activities often focus on the biophysical realm at the population, community, o r ecosystem level. Indicators that focus on biological and environmental assessments exist at both the professional and the community level and have been extensively discussed (Danielsen 2000; Fraser 2006; Nichols & Williams 2006; Gough et al. 2008). Socio -economic and cultural indicators of sustainable resource management practices have received less attention in the literature (Danielson 2000; Gough et al. 2008). Specific indicators focus almost exclusively on social disciplines such as cultural anthropol ogy or social psychology (Reed et al. 2006). Yet it is important to assess changes at the socio -economic and cultural level s in order to determine outcomes of conservation strategies on peoples livelihoods. However, socio -economic and cultural indicators are site -specific and require indicators that match local needs (Carruthers & Tinning 2003; Hwan Suk 2006) Different approaches have been conducted to identify sustainability indicators, mostly with a focus on tourism ( King et al 2000; Hughes 2002; Lee 2 004; HwanSuk 2006; Reed et al. 2006). However, the emphasis has been on introducing or disc ussing concepts to develop the indicators such as community participation and focus groups. Criteria and thematic issues that encompass indicators have received les s attention
17 As a result, socio economic indicators need to be developed for each setting to match local needs In doing so, the process of engaging local people in the selection of indicators has shown to create a sense of community empowerment, increased responsibility towards natural resource s (Corbiere Nicollier et al. 2003; Lundquist & Granek 2005), and higher participation in management activities including monitoring (Fraser et al. 2006; Danielsen et al. 2008). Community empowerment is especially st rong where local people are the main drivers of conservation activities (Danielsen et al. 2005; Garcia & Lescuyer 2008). However, external support is often necessary and should be provided where local communities lack technical or administrative k nowledge but all decision -making should remain within the local community (Danielsen et al. 2008). Based on this approach to community empowerment, it is the responsibility of the community and the local authorities to create a set of socio -economic indicators tha t reflect local issues, conditions and priorities. To address this shortcoming, international organizations such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) have developed comprehensiv e checklist s to support communities and scientists in the formulation of indicators that include biological, socio cultural, economic, and political dimensions. More specifically, a checklist in this context is a tool to identify gaps and ensure that all areas for monitoring activities are conducted. I n interdisciplinary issues such as biodiversity conservation and tourism development, the danger of incomplete data assessments can be mitigated if all noted areas are addressed Furthermore, there is often a lack of available data in remote areas that have been under studied.
18 Monitoring relates to evaluation of changes based on certain identified criteria Baseline information is the first step for the development of a monitoring system as i t describes the e xisting social, environmental, and economic conditions (CBD 2007). Baseline Information Assessment Baseline information provides the benchmark data needed to create a monitoring system. The collection of detailed socio -economic information to develop a re source management program can assist to understand specific community and household conditions, resource use patterns, and economic activities. Also, it can establish baseline conditions for future comparison s (CBD 2004). Two documents that have been deve loped to assist in the development of a compr ehensive monitoring program are The Users Manual on the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development1 (CBD 2007), and the SocioEconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers in the Caribbean2 (Bunce & Pomeroy 2003). Both manuals provide comprehensive and detailed information regarding the compilation of baseline information as a foundation for socio -economic monitoring programs. While the CBD Guidelines have a focus on tourism development, they can also be applied to general conservation and development programs. The synthesi s of both approaches to creat e a baseline assessment of socio -economic data is as follows: Typically, a socioeconomic monitoring program w hi ch should be an integral part of any conserva tion and development initiative begins with a baseline assessment using a wide range of variables that provides a foundation for future reference. It is important to note that this 1 General guide developed by the Convention on Biological Diversity 2 Guide specifically designed for Caribbean coral reef ecosystems; developed by the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and Australian Ins titute of Marine Science
19 assessment of baseline information is necessary for all stages of the program, beyond the initial phase (CBD 2007). Based on this information, indicators can be selected and subsequent monitoring activities planned. It is important that monitoring is only effective if undertaken on a long -term basis at periodi c intervals, as impacts of conservation and development are often only visible at a timely delay (Carruthers & Tinning 2003). Compilation of baseline information should not be undertaken randomly. Scoping is an important tool to ensure that the collection of baseline information targets the right information at the right level of detail from reliable sources (CBD 2007). Scoping assists to assess the type of information that should be measured, the type of information that is already available, and helps to ide ntify missing information that is needed to complete the assessment (Carruthers & Tinning 2003; CBD 2007). Data for a socio-economic baseline information assessment should include community and household level demographics, economic and social conditions, cultural aspects, stakeholder information, and information regarding laws and regulations (Bunce &Pomeroy 2003; CBD 2007). H owever, it is important to note that not all information may be required for each assessment. Scoping assists in collecting strategi c information based on local needs and associated issues. Case Study: Community-B ased C onservation in Kuna Yala, Panama The Kuna Indians in Northeastern Panama distinguish themselves from other indigenous cultures by their success in defeating the Panamanian Government in 1938, which granted them sovereign rights to their land s. This achievement is remarkable as few other indigenous groups have accomplished such a feat (Howe 1998; Andrefouet & Guzman 2005). T his success has contributed to the crea tion of a strong and proud culture that has been able to maintain most of its cultural t raditions However, the Kuna have struggle d to maintain their traditions given the increasing external influences and pressures that demand adju stments and pose grave threats to
20 their culture ( BMU 2003). These new challenges include overpopulation and over extraction of live coral to build seawalls pressures from tourism and extensive overfishing of spiny lobster s (Panulirus argus) to sa tisfy increasing needs for cash income (Castillo & Lessios 2001). G lobalizatio n and outside influences have also induced conflicts especially among the different generations. The Kuna live in the archipelago of San Blas (also referred to as Comarca Kuna Yala3), which consists of extensive coral reefs with over 350 islands and islets, and adjacent tropical forests on the coastal mainland (BMU 2003) The Kuna inhabit 38 of these islands along with 11 communities situated on the mainland. The exact Kuna population is unknown but is estimated to be approximately 50 000 people; half of the population live in Kuna Yala and the other half in Panama City and Coln (Solis 2007, personal communication) Study Site The study site is located in the northwestern part of the Comarca i n the district of Nargana and consists of the five island communities, Wargandup, Akuanusadup, Nargana, Digir, and Tikantiki, and one mainland community, Maguebgandi. The estimated permanent population of the six communities is 300080004 (Solis 2007, pers onal communication) ( See Figures 2 1 and 2 2 ). The six communities a re at different stages of modernization. Maguebgandi, Tikantiki, and Digir are the most traditional communities a s Kuna culture is strong w ith a dominati ng traditional lifes tyle Akuanusadup, Wargandup, and Nargana have experienced e xtended influence from the Panamanian military who has maintained presence for almost a century. Loss of local cultur al traditions and changes in li festyle towards western desires (e.g. television, cell 3 District of the Land of the Kuna 4 These numbers vary so greatly because many people migrated to the mainland while sometimes still being counted as residents of Nargan
21 phones, western -style clothing) are dominant in these communities. All six communities can only be a ccessed by boat They are located in relative proximity to one another and can be reached within one t o two hours by local water transportation On the western end lies Wargandup ; Nargana and Akuanusadup are the adjacent communities to the east and located close enough to each other that they are connected by a wooden bridge. T owards the eastern side is Digir, w hich can be reached within a two -hour boat ride, w hile Tikantiki i s an additional half hour away Maguebgandi is located furthest to the east and located on the coastal mainland. The prima ry economic activities consist of artisanal fishing and diving for lobster, octopus and qu een c onch. Kuna fishermen tend to fish for subsistence purposes about three to four times per week mostly for personal consumption unless catches of the day exceed s pers onal use. Fishermen also engage in lobster diving for additional cash income. An increasing but unknown number of adolescents ha s focuse d almost exclusively on lob ster harvest and ha s frequently le ft for lobster diving trips five to six days per week. Lobster diving as cash income is slowly replac ing subsistence agriculture in Kuna Yala Cultural change and the growing need for cash income is the main driver of this change. As a result, overfishing of lobster is caus ing rapid decline of the lobster population, w hile harmful fishing techniques pose additional threats to the marine ecosystem. Tourism is the fastest growing economic sector in Kuna Yala. While the western parts of Kuna Yala have been heavily trafficked by cruise ships and have several hotels and cabanas, other areas including the research area, are not impacted as heav ily although drastic increase in tourism is predicted. Towards the eastern border of Kuna Yala in closer proximity to Columbia, tourism is virtually nonexistent. Within the study site, tourism takes place mainly in form of private yachts that cruise the waters and is largely unregulated.
22 In order to allow the Kuna to maintain economic independence, all tourism -related development s ha ve to be Kuna -owned. Yet, tourism control mechanisms are still largely lacking Only one of the six communities in the resear ch area, Digir, has developed basi c tourism infrastructure. Over the p ast 10 years, the people of Digir have collectively developed community -based tourism in the village The community dedicated one area of the island as punta t urstica, which comprise s of four c abaas that sleep up 12 people at a time one restaurant and beach access. The cabaas and the restaurant a re completely community -owned. All income generated from the ca b aas and the restaurant belong s to the community, and tourism related dec ision -making processes a re communityrun. Whenever tourists visit the community raise s a flag that indicate s the presence of visitors. During these times, no local person i s allowed at the punta tur stica, i n order to secure access for swimming, snorke ling or sunbathing for the visitors and also to minimize cultural conflicts. Other management strategies developed include rules for visiting the village such as the introduction of an entrance fee of US $ 3.00 per person/ day, and mandatory escort by one of the three local guides. The cost of US $ 1. 00 per photo of a Kuna empowers the local people with the o ption to participate in tourism activities Many women in the village s ell molas5 at fixed prices to avoid intra -communal competition and thereby create a valuable income alternative. In terms of administrative structure t he six villages form a unique group as they are jointly represented through the local associati on Fuerza Unida de Seis Pueblos 6 (FUSPU). Through this joint representation, FUSPU conducts social, economic, political, and environmental matters and represents the communities as one voice in the Kuna General Congress (CGK), which is their 5 Molas are handmade blouses traditionally worn by Kuna wom en. 6 United Force of Six Villages
23 highest political auth ority. FUSPU has further taken responsibility for conservation -related matters and has identified short, medium and long-term conservation and development goals T hese goals are based on visions and needs developed by the community representatives to facilitate more sustainable use of marine resources. Several small -scale projects aim to achieve these goals incrementally while ensuring local control and decision-making with the Kuna. In 2007, FUSPU launched the project Red de Patrimonio Marino Kuna7 (RPMK) with the su pport of a Panamanian private development organization (PDO) that has been collaboratively working with the Kuna for several years. The projects goal was to facilitate conservation and sustainable use of marine resources in six biodiversity hotspots that were identifie d by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in 2003 (Guzman et al. 2003). The project had three main objectives: (1) capacity -building to control resource use, (2) visitor management, (3) monitoring of biological and socio-economic indicators. P urpose of Study This study is a contribution to the third objective of the a forementioned program and provides initial data collection of socio -economic information which specifically focused on demographic, cultural, economic, and governance -related information Si nce this was the first attempt to create a foundation in information assessment data availability was sparse and often difficult or impossible to obtain throughout the research period. However, this was to be expected due to the remote location and l ack of previous research studies. Also, as the Kuna traditionally are an orally based culture, they have little experience with respect to structured data collection. 7 Kuna Marine Patrimony Reserve
24 In supporting Kuna aims to develop their own monitoring plans, this stu dy provides socio -economic data compilation, including demographic information, infrastructures and occupations economic activities, socio -cultural issues, and governance. The study objective is noted as follows: Primary assessment of socio economic data at the community and at the household level, including population demographics, economic activities and resource use patterns, sociocultural issues, and governance. In the event of unavailable or missing data, additional data collection will be completed by local stakeholders in follow up data compilation to complete the assessment. This process provides the initial step to support the Kuna in their aim to engage in local monitoring activities to assess conservation and development projects. Methods Data Collection Data were collected during June July of 2007 among residents in each of the six communities : Wargandup, Akuanusadup, Nargana, Digir, Tikantiki, and Maguebgandi Although the field work was arranged with and approved by the project authorities, i ntroductory meetings were held in each community with the respective village chiefs (saila) to explain the purpose of study and to ensure their consent. Core methods included collection of secondary data, semi structured and unstructured interviews with key stakeholders, and participant observation. Secondary information was mostly gathered from the local health care centers in Digir and Nargana, local authorities in Akuanusadup, the partner organization in P anama City, and from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Thirty two semi -structured interviews were conducted among participants who were identified and selected based on criterion and snowball sampling methods (Bernard 2000). The study population consisted of two stakeholder groups: Local stakeholders who participated in conservation and development projects coordinated by
25 FUSPU (10 interviews), and local fishermen who were the primary user group of the marine resources (22 interviews). Some fishermen were marginally involved in the projects through voluntary participation in community meetings, while others were not involved in the projects. Three additional interviews were conducted with local key stakeholders who were knowledgeable in re gional processes and respected members of their communities. Instrumentation The interview template was created in the Spanish language. All interviews were conducted in Spanish and Kuna with the help of a local translator. The translator accompanied every interview and ensured that even those interviewees who were fluent in the Spanish language could express their opinions and beliefs in the most detailed and comfortable manner. The average length of duration for an interview was one to two hours. Each interview was immediately reviewed with t he translator after conducting it to ensure that all information was captured and understood adequately. Each interview was later typed in the Spanish language to avoid data loss through translation. The interviews comprised of four main sections ( Appendix A ). In the first section, participants provided demographic and socio-economic information. This included information on age, community in which participants lived, household demographics, and years of education. Socio -economic information included occupati on and main source of income. In the second section, respondents were asked about the types of marine activities they were engaged in, which included spatial information on fishing grounds, financial gains from marine resources, as well as types of catch a nd the portions used for sale and personal consumption. The third section asked for the participants perceptions with respect to the overall conditions of marine resources, and their perception of threats, problems and solutions that affect the current ma rine resource management. In the fourth section, participants were asked for their knowledge of existing
26 regulations of marine resource management. Each interview concluded with an option for additional comments Interviewees were given pseudo nym names to ensure personal confidentiality. Data a bout tourism development as well as additional information on community demographics were obtained from the village officials, local health care centers, and from key stakeholders such as those directly inv olved in tourism enterprises. Data Analysis Based on the research objective, data were segmented into the following themes: Populatio n demographics at the community and the household level. This includes inhabitants, age and gender distribution, education, as well as infrastructure and occupation in the communities. It also includes household information, health status, migration rates, and religious compositions. Economic activities including coastal and marine goods and services, resource use patterns, values of goods, and market orientation. This section also includes types of impacts and outside influence, tourism profile and existi ng traditional systems. Socio -c ultural issues, including gender roles, survival and loss of cultural heritage, traditional belief systems, and culturally sensitive areas. Governance including management structure, community organizations, stakeholder part icipation, legislation, and land ownership and rights. These categories are based on the CBD Guidelines and on the Socio Economic Monitoring Guidelines mentioned earlier, and have been altered through scoping to customize to local conditions ( Appendix B ). Results Population Demographics The number of inhabitants varied considerably between the communities8. Tikantiki and Digir had the largest populations with 890 inhabitants each, while Maguebgandi was the smallest community with only 207 inhabitants. Wargandup had 440 inhabitants; Akuanusadup and 8 Population census data for each community was gathered from the local health care centers in Digir and Nargana
27 Nargana each had 370 and 605 inhabitants, respectively ( Table 2 1). Gender distribution showed that the communities of Wargandup, Akuanusadup, and Nargana had slightly more males than females; the other three communities had slightly more females (Table 2 1). The age structure in each community was similar (Table 2 1 ) and is summarized in one age pyramid ( Figure 2 3). The largest age division is composed of children and young adults, which consisted of almost half of the population. The smallest age group in the communities consisted of people who were 59 years or older9. The average l ife expectancy for the communi ties was at 70.2 years (Organizacin Panamericana de la Salud 2005). The numbers of households in each community are estimates Accordin gly, Tikantiki, Digir, and Nargana had between 100 120 households, while the other three communities had between 27 and 74 households (Table 2 2). The average number of members per household varied slightly between the communi ties. Wargandup had the lowest num ber of household members with an average of 5.9 persons per household (pph). Nargana and Akuanusadup had an average of 6.1 pph and 6.2 pph; Tikantiki and Maguebgandi eac h had an average of 7.4 pph and 7.6 pph, while Digir showed the largest num ber with 8.5 pph (Table 2 2). Men generally had higher education than women. On average, men had 5.3 years of schooling, women had on average 2.2 years of schooling (Table 23). D ifferences could also be seen between the communities. Inhabitants from Wargandup, Akuanusadup and Nargana showed a higher average level of education than participants from Digir, Tikantiki and Maguebgandi. Digir showed the overall lowest level of education despite the communitys growing significance as a tourism destination. This could be due to the fact that the existing income alternatives negatively influence peoples choice t o pursu e an education. 9 Note that the data for every person 70 years or older are summarized. Sepa rate data were not available.
28 In the less traditional communities, Kuna language i s minimally spoken and slowly repla ced by Spanish as the dominant language, and many Kuna tra ditions are also not practiced Before and during the Kuna Revolution in 1925, communities such as Akuanusadup and Nargana were one of the entry points for Panamanian military due to the airstrip in Akuanusadup, and were thus exposed more heavily to western culture. Only recently the schools have begun to teach classes in Kuna language Traditional music and dances are also slowly being reintroduced as part of the school curriculum Primary occupations i n the communities revealed structural differences between the westernized communities of Wargandup, Akuanusadup and Nargana, and the traditional communities of Digir, Tikantiki, and Maguebgandi A gricultu re and fishing were the most important ac tivities in all six communities. However, Wargandup, Nar gana and Akuanusadup also had public func tionaries such as administrative personnel (Table 2 4). Warg andup, Nargana, and Akuanusadup also had a n a dvanced i nfrastructure including electricity w hile the only bank and secondary school was located in Nargana (Table 2 5). Of the more traditional communities, Digir had the most constant influence from foreigners due to its engagement in tourism but lacked consistent el ectricity. Tikantiki had a few trained local guides and had a communityowned museum with a television but there was no organized tourism infrastructure and visitor numbers were unknown. The museum was mainly used by the local school and the local conser vation organization Balu Uala for environmental education of children and adults. Maguebgandi had the least infrastructure of all six communities Its remote location on the mainland without any major roads and limited accessibility have kept this small village somewhat isolated from the other
29 communities. Maguebgandi was also the onl y community that did not have public telephone access Economic A ctivities Coastal and marine activities Information on fishing locations and types of species caught were as sessed to provide information on areas that were overfished or that provided the best preserved habitats. Most fishermen had their personal fishing locations Although some areas were more frequently used than others, most fishermen identified their own spots through visual reference points that were mostly not revealed to others. Frequent answers given by the participants remained vague and merely described fishing grounds as: open sea, where there are fish, or places known through reference points. Several participants stated that they used between 25 50 different locations for fishing and lobster diving. Of those named locations, the most frequently used areas were the Cayos Holandeses and Bugadup10. Additional fishing grounds include d the reefs of K anildup, Tupile, Dup Sormulo, Cien Brazas, Uskuarsukup, Gannirdup, and Diadup. All islands were located within a two hour boat ride in a local cayuco (dug -out canoe). A general practice that seemed to be dominant by older fishermen with more experience was to use each fishing ground only once in 15 days and switch to a new place. Many fishermen w ho practiced artisanal fishing ( i.e, the traditional Kuna style of fishing by only using a nylon thread) also used the protected areas11 which have been established around the communities by the local conservation organization Balu Uala. 10 The Cayos Holandeses are a group of uninhabited islands surrounded by pristine coral reefs and increasingly frequented by tourists and fishermen 11 Artisanal fishing is the only form of fi shing allowed in these areas.
30 Fishermen caught a wide range of fish species (Figure 2 4). Most frequently caught species were red snapper and lobster, which were both used for sale. Miscellaneous species of sma ll reef fish were generally referred to as various, or a little of everything and mainly served for personal consumption. The financial value for fish has remained steady over the last 1015 years. The average amount of fish caught per day varied. Fis hermen caught an average of two to five pounds per day for personal consumption, or five to ten pounds per day if they intended to sell their catch. Most of the small reef fish were not divided by species. At the absence of a scale, the fishermen have deve loped their own estimate, where by 7 10 fish equal one pound, de pending on the size of the fish These reef fish were usually sold at one US $ 1 per pound or for seven fish (7 misc. fish = 1 lb = US $ 1.00). On average, fishermen caught approximately 50 fis h or 7 pounds of fish per day, which would give them an income of US $ 7 per day, if the entire catch was sold. Larger or more valuable fish such as red snapper had a different value and were sold in single units. One pound was sold at US $ 0.50, thus at h alf the price of the miscellaneous fish, but the larger size of the snapper made up for the difference. One red snapper at 10 pounds could be sold for US $ 5 (1 red snapper = 10 lb = US $ 5.00) Of the three dominant types of seafood gained from the marin e resources, lobster was the most popular catch Octopus had only recently gained in price from US$ 0.50 per pound ten years ago to US$ 1.00 per pound The lobster population h as become endangered due to continued exploitation and increasing market value as a delicac y. Lobster was sold either to a local intermediary or as direct sale. The intermediary had a fixed price of US$ 4.00 per pound. Most of the communities had an intermediary who was also supposed to act as a control for
31 compliance of the local regul ations12 on lobster diving. The divers presented their catch to the intermediary who weighed the catch in their presence and paid them directly. All information was recorded in a log book13, where the name of the diver was noted along with the amount caught and money paid. The intermediary then sold t he purchases to a second intermediary who arrived daily in the sector by airplane from Panama C ity This second nonlocal intermediary in turn su pplied hotels and restaurants throughout Panama. Direct sales had a higher fixed price of US$ 4.25 per pound. Direct sales usually went to tourist vessels and yachts, to hotels, and to tour operators in Kuna Yala. There was no control over these sales; therefore existing regulations on lobster fishing were often not enforced. During the closed season in spring, many lobster divers turned to direct sales to reduce the loss of income. Frequently, these direct sales also included illegal fishing techniques. Overfishing of lobster has had significant levels of impact on the population. According to the respondents, t he growing number of lobster divers has been leading to a rapid decline of the lobster population. Participants stated that they (the divers) had to dive much deeper than in the past. While 10 15 years ago, lobster could be found at a depth of 3 10 feet, today divers had to go to a minimum depth of 15 20 feet, and often even deeper. Based on these estimates, the lobster population declined drastically between 1990 and 2007. On average, lobster diver s caught 34 pounds per day in 1990. In 2007, p articipants stated that they caught an average amount of 15 pounds per day (Figure 2 5). In addition, lobster diving was a group activity. Most people ventured in groups of three. In 1990, each diver caught an a verage of 10 pounds of lobster in one 12 Regulations on lobster diving includes a minimum length of the lobster tail of 8 cm to ensure only matured lobster are caught, prohibition of catching females that carry eggs, and a closed season for catching lobster in gene ral during a three month recovery period from April through June (called ve da). 13 Unfortunately it was not possible to view these log books for research purposes. Most of the older data were stored somewhere else and the data a vailable was held as confidential by the local organization Balu Uala.
32 day. Currently one diver h arvested about 5 pounds of lobster in a day which equals t o approximately US $ 20. Thereby, the amount of catch has been reduced by more than half over the last 17 years. The decline of lobster could also be related to its growing economic value. With increasing scarcity, the market value for lobster has increased. Estimates on prices per pound varied, as some people referred to prices generally "in the past", while others gave the price they rem embered from 10 years ago, or even 30 years ago. Still, participants were in agreement that the price for lobster was much lower in the past. Based on the r esponses the calculated average price for one pound of lobster in 1990 was at US $ 2.50, which meant that in 17 years, the price has almost doubled (Figure 2 6) Traditional systems During non-fishing days, the Kuna tended to their agricultural fields in the mainland, where they gro w mostly corn, pineapple and yucca. However, a growing number of you ng Kuna men have been changing this traditional practice. Many neglect their fields and rather buy those needed crops rather than growing them14. The traditional use of the uninhabited islands was coconut harvest (Table 2 -6). Coconuts had a fixed price of US $ 0.12 per coconut, but the income generated through coconut harvest has declined over the last decade. This was due to the fact that existing coconut trees were being harvested but no new trees were planted unless their seeds dispersed naturally. On e reason for this development could be the growing influence of money. Alien to the traditional Kuna culture, hard currency has been replacing the coconut as original local currency or trade object. This has lead to a decrease in the value of coconuts. S ome of its value could be retained through sales 14 Details on traditional farming practices could not be acquired due to lack of time in the field.
33 to tourists, but this did not meet the quantity of former times. Columbian merchant ships also still bought coconuts from the Kuna and resold them in Columbia for a much higher price. Tourist profile Partici pants estimate d that in the summer months of December through March, between 80200 yachts cruise the waters i n the research area Some boats were operated by national and international agencies a nd charter up to 20 passengers and take various trips wi thin one season. Other boats were privately owned and often operated by retirees from the United St ates Along with the lack of data on the yachts, little was known on country of origin, private or commercial use of the boats, numbers of passengers, etc. Of all six communities, only Digir has been collecting information on yacht arrivals (Figure 2 7). The data were collected from a log book where all yachts that entered Digir documented their arrival. However, these numbers are mere estimates as not all bo ats documented passenger numbers or names, and those boats that remained anchored outside the community were also not listed in the log book. The Panama nian summer months showed the highest concentra tion of yachts with 10 to 12 boats arriving in Digir pe r month, while the winter months of May through August received the lowest arrival numbers. Visitor statistics were available for the cabaas in Digir, which seem to be reliable, as the manager of the cabaas kept records of visitors15. However, it was not certain if those arriving by yacht s were similar to those sleeping in the cabaas. Given that most yachts were equipped with sleeping facilities, it can be assumed that the visitors who arrived on the yachts and those who arrived by different means were f rom different market segments. Similarly to the arrival of the yachts overall tourist arrivals were high from December to March (64 arrivals), but showed 15 It has to be noted that all tourist arrivals as included in these statistics do not inc lude those visitors who arrive through the Panamanian ecotourism agency Expediciones Tropicales.
3 4 generally a more consistent pattern throughout the Panamanian winter months from June to October with an average of 25 visitors per month (Figure 2 7). Most of the visitors arrived from the United States and Canada (77 arrivals ), followed by European visitors (61 arrivals ) (Figure 2 8). Twenty three visitors arrived from other countries in Central America and four w ere from South America and Oceania while o ne visitor w as from Asia M ost visitors were between 20 35 years of age; 44% were female s and 56% were males. The other communities did not receive significant numbers of tourists d ue to the lack of infrastructure to facilitate tourism. Participants in Tikantiki stated that most yachts in sight of the community remained in open waters and hardly ever arrived in the community. Wargandup and Maguebgandi did not receive any tourists. Na rgana and Akuanusadup did receive some visitors, but there was no written record of arrival numbers or ot her tourism related information. There was also lack of available information with regard to income generated from tourism. Socio -Cultural Issues Trad itional Kuna gender roles were clear ly defined. W omen were responsible for cooking, cleaning, raising children, and have been responsible for maintaining cultural traditions, while men engaged in fish ing farm ing and building houses. These activities were valued as equal wit hin Kuna society, but the development of new activities such as tourism have tended to fall within the realm of male responsibility (Marston 2007) T his trend has caused men to westernize faster than women and has contributed to uneven community growth. Furthermore, t he Kuna are a matrilineal culture, whereby men move in with their wives family and inheritance of property is often passed to women as men. Every community also had a womens organization. Their main function included preparation of traditional rituals and other festivities and cleaning of the village. Tourism has had influence on womens new role as a provider of
35 additional income from mola sales. Specific information on impacts or amounts of revenue generated is unknown. The Kuna c ultural belief system is very complex and culturally sensitive areas such as sacred sites are best assessed by fellow Kuna who are most familiar with it. Acces s to such information could not be obtained due to the sensitivity and duration of the research period Governance Kuna Yala received political, social and cultural autonomy in 1938 after long struggles over its independence with the Panamanian government (Howe 1998) The Kuna people have their own political system with the Congreso General Kuna (CGK) or Kuna General Congress being the highest pol itical authority in Kuna Yala. The CGK is presided by three caciques (regional chiefs) who represent the three political units of the Comarca: Nargana, Tubuala, and Ailigandi (Bennett 1999; Andrefouet & Guzman 2005) The CGK further consists of the 49 highest ranking saila s (village chiefs), one from each community, as well as political figures, representatives of Kuna labor organizations and professionals who serve as advisors (Bennett 1999, Chapin 2000). The CG K meets twice per year for several days, during which p olicies are decided and decisions are made in consensus, and the CGK advises, organizes community project work and settles disputes. The village gongresos (community meetings) meets nightly. A ll commun ity members are given the opportunity to participate in local decision-making processes and village issues, and to participate in traditional chanting and story telling. The traditional communities ha ve mandatory attendance at least several days of the week W omen a re allowed to participate in most meetings but generally only to listen. Less traditional communities such as Nargana and Akuanusadup did not make nightly use of the traditional village congress house. Instead, they
36 resorted to more westernized p olitical administration in form of a sailatura (administrative office of the saila). Of Kuna Yalas 360 plus islands, only 38 were inhabited a nd were privately owned by Kuna. Ownership was heritable, which has generated lar ge ownership groups over the generations. However, each island usually had one principal owner and several main owners (one from each family) and decisions regarding island use were usually made collectively. Ownership was also strictly organized in terms of development and economic activities. Kuna legislation states that all businesses (caba as, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, transportation, etc.) have to be completely Kuna owned. This is to ensure the Kuna are able to maintain economic and politica l independence and to shield them from outside developers. This law is strictly enforced. Unfortunately, this law is slowly getting compromised by increasing pressure from the tourism industry. Anecdotal information included plans of the Panamanian Tourism Ministry (IPAT ) to begin large -scale tourism development within the Comarca. It remained questionable if permission to construct resorts and roads in the coastal primary forest was granted by Kuna authorities; this has remained a point of conflict if outs ide development finally would be allowed in the Comarca. The other prominent law in Kuna Yala is the seafood fishing ban. In 1999, the Kuna General Congress established a closed season for lobster, king crab, conch and octopus called veda from March 1st th rough May 31st (Castillo & Lessios 2001). The closed season was established to allow the lobster time for reproduction to counteract the rapid decline of the lobster population and other seafood. During this time lobster, conch or king crab are not allowe d to be fished, captured, or sold anywhere within Kuna Yala. Tourists are often not aware of this law and lack of control mechanisms to enforce this law lead people to sell their illegal
37 seafood ca tches to tourists. Often fishermen catch lobster during th e closed season and hide them in submerged cages until the end of the veda. Discussion This exploratory study of socioeconomic data assessment demonstrated the complexity of undertaking a thorough review of baseline information. The s ystematically collect ed information on population demographics, economic activities including fishing patterns, and governance issues can help managers to accurately determine those that may be affected by resource management strategies Completion of Baseline Information Bas ed on the list of criteria regarding issues that need to be included in a socio-economic assessment, the following gaps were identified in which future investigations should address: Population demographics: The population data for Nargana and Akuanusadup lis t ed only those who live d permanently in these communities. Yet, many families move d to Nargana or Akuanusadup for a few years to send their children to the only secondary school in the district. The actual number of inhabitants including temporary migrants was therefore estimated to be much higher than the available population census .16 Further, information regarding household income or other forms of assessing wealth and health status of communities could not be obtained This could be undertaken with a thorough population inventory of the six communities. Each household should be mapped, catalogued and include the number of household members and community of origin, especially in Nargana and Akuanusadup. This way, migratory movement s between the communities can also be assessed 16 The census data was retrieved from the Health Care Center in Nargana, which is updated regularly but only includes permanent residents of each community.
38 Additional information is also required to complete the occupational structure. It is still uncertain a s to how many lobster divers and fishermen currently live in the communities. This information is needed to e valuate the impact of lobster harvesting. Further more the interviews revealed a tendency i n decreasing use of subsistence agriculture. Such a socio-cultural change can have important impacts on Kuna culture and survival of their traditional knowledge. A socia l inventory should be conducted to include a n occupation assessment of e ach inhabitant. This includes professions related to marine resource use, agriculture, retail sales as well as tourism related professions such as mola sales or tour guides. This info rmation can help to evaluate diversification or specialization of professions17. Economic activities: Additional missing information that needs to be collected include the amount of lobster caught per day and per person for each community. It is important t o obtain this information from every person who engages in this activity in order to receive an overview on the amounts of lobster caught in the waters surrounding the villages. In addition, size and weight of each lobster can provide viable information on the level to which people comply with the existing fishing regulations. The information provided in this study can be completed by using the log books of the intermediary buyer of lobster. At the time of investigation it was not possible to obtain this in formation, as the intermediary also functioned as an inspector for the catches and held the log books as confidential. In order to gain insight into the data, closer collaboration with the local association Balu Uala would be helpful. Even though written documentation is not part of the Kuna culture, it is recommended that information on visitor arrival be documented. Given the rapid growth of tourism, effective visitor management can only be realized if general data are available. Specifically, it is reco mmended 17 More details on the main professions in the communities a re discussed in Chapter 3.
39 that all communities within FUSPU record numbers of arriving tourists, length of stay, country of origin, and means of transport. This will be very helpful for future tourism planning. Given the increasing number of tourists who remain on their boa ts, all yachts entering the greater area of FUSPU should be counted and documented. This information will help in tourism planning, patrolling activities to control visitor impacts and ensuring their appropriate behavior. A systematic collection of touris m related data could be conducted at the airstrip in Akuanusadup, as the majority of tourists who do not travel by yacht arrive by airplane from Panama City. A lthough every person who arrives by plane has to pay an airstrip tax of three dollars, no records are being kept by the administration of Akuanusadup. In addition, the amount of income generated from tourism is unknown. All tourist facilities in the communities should document arrival date number of people, country of origin, and length of stay of vi sitors. All income generated in the communities through tourism, including restaurant facilities, c abaas and sales of souvenirs (molas, miniature cayucos (kayaks), saboretes (sarongs), etc.) as well as income generated through sales of fish and seafood t o the tourists should be documented and reported to the local congress. Socio -cultural issues: Given the complexity of Kuna culture and the extent at which local traditions are still practiced, an assessment of cultural issues should be undertaken by local stakeholders, as they are much more knowledgeable. Data should be assessed to include culturally sensitive areas, including historical sites and areas of traditional importance, and an evaluation of survival of the Kuna cultural belief system. Governance: The political system including current legislation s and management regulations has only been briefly mentioned. A thorough investigation of enabling legislation that is currently in existence could help to identify the Kunas position in context with the
40 Panamanian gove rnment, especially the Tourism M inistry, as there seems to be much discussion as to the level of economic development in the Comarca. Part of a successful conservation and development program also includes information regarding enforcement o f legislation or identifying the need for changes or new legislation to become active. Social behavior al patterns such as compliance issues will also generate knowledge with regards to conflicts with the existing regulations and can o ffer insight into the underlying concerns of the population. Implications With respect to monitoring, i t is critical to recognize the close link between use of coastal resources and the socioeconomic context of the community. Socioeconomic information provides an understanding of the sociocultural, economic and political characteristics and conditions of communities that use and are dependent on natural resource s (Bunce & Pomeroy 2003). For future monitoring activities, the information compiled in this assessment can be an instrumental tool with respect to the following issues: First, changes in population demographics can offer information on management activities and impacts on peoples livelihoods, population distribution, education and other aspects. Measuring an i ncrea se or decrease in the diversification of primary professions (agriculture, fishing, diving, tour guide, production and vending of molas, etc.) can provide viable information regarding the creation of income al ternatives. A decrease or slow increase in the number of people engaged in lobster diving can provide information on the progression of lobster exploitation. Recommendation: Each household in a community should therefore be assessed periodically to update the different occupations (e.g. every six month s). In order to simplify this method, lists can be prepared a s the volunteer can merely mark the frequency of occupations encountered.
41 Second, the collected data on tourism profiles provide important information about tourism trends in the area. Based on this information, tourism education can be specifically targeted and visitor control s can be more effectively practiced. This information should also include those tourists who arrive in their yachts and do not enter the communities. Recommendation: One option is to provide the local fishermen with school notebooks and pencils and encourage them to write down the name and date of sight for each boat they encounter during their fishing trips. For tourist arrivals by plane, it is recommended that the airstrip personnel in Akuanusadup place all receipts of airport tax, which is collected from each tourist, in a designated place and periodically count the number of arrivals and document them in a school notebook. Third, t he change of financial value of seafood indicates the increase or decrease in economic significance for certain species. This information can help to raise awareness of the intensity at which certain species (e.g. lobster and red snapper) are being overfished. As described earlier, the p rice for lobster is generally fixed. Recommendation: To measure changes in financial values of certain species, fishermen can simply use a school notebook and make a note every time the price changes, including date and the new price. Fourth, information o n the quantities of lobster caught each day offer s clarity about lobster overfishing. This information can be gathered as it is already available in the log books of the lobster inspectors in each community who serve as middle men for the lobster industry in Panama. A decrease in the number of lobster caught could be a sign that new income alternatives have evolved. Recommendation: This information should be gathered for each community to further assess if protected areas and environmental educa ti on which are onl y conducted in some communities have an effect on diving behavior s of fishermen.
42 Conclusion Numerous failures in conservation and development programs have shown that natural res ources cannot be managed from a biophysical focus alone. In or der to be able to manage natural resources such as in coastal and marine ecosystems, resource protection and management must be balanced with the local communities livelihoods. This study shows the importance of creating a baseline assessment of all info rmation of value for monitoring programs. Following such an assessment, gaps in data availability can become evident and efforts can be targeted specifically to close these gaps. The compilation of baseline information is also important because it shows th e complexity of creating a complete assessment. This study explored the availability of data in indigenous communities where, as part of the local culture, information has traditionally been passed orally but no data has been recorded. This aspect should be considered when administering data collection in developing countries. Also, sufficient time and resources should be allocated to complete the assessment. Further research is needed to follow up on this process and additional research on the proceedings of the Kuna must be conducted in order to establish a monitoring program. A lso, the support they receive from the local organization needs to remain active s o that they can collectively establish a monitoring system t hat is self su staining and embedded in their daily activities.
43 Table 2 1. Community level demography Age Gender 0 19 20 39 40 59 over 59 Male Female TOTAL Wargandup 207 120 67 46 230 210 440 Akuanusadup 161 79 83 47 190 180 370 Nargana 274 133 126 72 340 265 605 Digir 427 196 144 122 417 472 889 Tikantiki 425 204 151 110 435 455 890 Maguebgandi 114 47 30 16 92 115 207 Table 2 2. Household demographics by community No. of households persons per household Wargandup 74 5.9 Nargana 100 6 Akuanusadup 6 0 6.2 Tigre 105 8.5 Tikantiki 120 7.4 Maguebgandi 27 7.6 Table 2 3. Level of education by gender and community Years of education male Years of education female Mean Years Mean Years Wargandup 2.83 5.7 2.4 4.9 Akuanusadup 3 7.0 1.5 2.0 Nargana 2 4.0 2.5 5.0 Digir 2.55 5.1 0.9 0.9 Tikantiki 2.4 4.9 1.4 1.9 Maguebgandi 2.75 5.5 2.5 5.0 TOTAL 2.65 5.3 1.61 2.2 Table 2 4. Primary occupations by community Wargandup Akuanusadup Nargana Digir Tikantiki Maguebgandi 1 fishing agriculture fishi ng agriculture agriculture agriculture 2 diving fishing agriculture fishing/diving fishing/diving fishing 3 public functionaries Public functionaries diving tourism 4 agriculture government retirees public functionaries Commerce, merchant ships
44 Table 2 5. Infrastructure and businesses in the communities Wargandup Akuanusadup Nargana Digir Tikantiki Maguebgandi Infrastructure Schools Primary x x x x x x Secondary x Hospitals Health Care Centers x x x x Electricity x x x Telephone x x x x x Internet access x Radios x x x x x x Televisions x x x x x Newspapers Public Library x x Museum x Airport x Businesses Supermarket R estaurants x x x Food stalls x Gasoline sellers x x x x x Banks x General stores x x x x x x Specialty stores x Tour operators x x Hotels/hostels/cabaas x x x Table 2 6. Traditional economic u se of six uninhabited islands Island Quantity of coconuts har vested / month Income generated from coco nut harvest / month Diadup 150 200 coconuts US $ 18 $24 / month Gannirdup 240 coconuts US $ 19 / month Esnasdup 400 coconuts US $ 48 / month Nuu bebe Sibudup 360 420 coconuts US $ 30 35 / month Sichirdup no information Dup Suid no information
45 Figure 2-1. Map of Panama and Kuna Yala marked red. The research area is located in the area highlighted by the square. Figure 2-2. Detailed map of the research area: The green part shows the coastal mainland, the yellow points are islands. Surrounding the is lands are coral reef s, marked blue.
46 Figure 2 3. Detailed age pyramid for all six communities Figure 2 4. List of most frequently caught fish and seafood species
47 Figure 2 5. Change in amounts of l obster caught in pounds per day: 1990 and 2007 Figure 2 6. Change in price per pound of lobster : 1990 and 2007 Figure 2 7. Tourist arrivals and type of stay in Digir, 2006
48 Figure 2 8. Visitors t o Digir by geographic region, 2006
49 CHAPTER 3 ATTITUDES AND PERCEP TIONS OF KUNA FISHER MEN TOWARDS MARINE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT I ntroduction Marine ecosystems are of great importance to human well being in their provision of s ervices such as food resources, waste detoxification, or flood control (Worm et al 2006). However, human activities have caused rapid decline of marine ecosystems through overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, especially in sensitive coastal ecosystem s whereby coral reefs are at high risk of permanent damage (Mora et al. 2006; Worm et al. 2006). Over 50% of the worlds population currently lives in coastal areas and the numbers are expected to increase (World Bank 2008). If the rate of marine exploitat ion proceeds at the current rate, it is estimated that all species suitable for consumption will be depleted by 2048 (Worm et al. 2006). The prevailing managerial response to this decline has been the establishment of Marine Protected A reas (MPAs) to achi eve more sustainable forms of resource use (Mascia 2003; Christie & White 2007). MPAs today account for 18.7% of the worlds coral reefs (Mora et al. 2006) MPAs also have the potential to recover lost biodiversity and reverse current impacts, but the majo rity of them have lacked major successes in their aim to effectively conserve marine resources (Kelleher et al. 1995; Pollnac et al. 2001; Mora et al. 2006; Worm et al. 2006). Based on a global assessment of MPA effectiveness, management performance is par ticularly low in areas with high coral diversity, namely the Indo Pacific and the Caribbean (Mora et al. 2006). The coral reefs of the Wider Caribbean face severe threats from coastal erosion, overfishing, pollution, and recreational misuse (Kelleher et al 1995; Cinner & Pollnac 2004). Most areas considered for conservation are inhabited by local and/or indigenous groups whose perceptions and behavioral patterns often differ s ubstantially from the dominant perception held in the Western world. Indigenous p eople today account for 5% of the worlds
50 population and 15% of the worlds poo rest with higher rates of malnutrition, lack of education opportunities, continuous conflicts over land rights and increasing loss of livelihoods (Nongkynrih 2008). To alleviat e this situation, in the last decade a ctive participation of local and indigenous communities in protected area management has become a priority in global conservation and development programs (Tran 2006) However, even though inclusion of indigenous and l ocal people into natural resource management has received growing importance, they often continue to be marginalized. As the failure rate of conservation and development projects remains high and results are generally mixed (Garnett et al. 2007), there has been much debate on the procedures and levels of integration of local and indigenous communities in conserva tion planning (Agrawal & Gibson 1999; Kellert et al 2000; Redford & Sanderson 2000; Salafsky & Wollenberg 2000; Barrett et al 2001; Brown 2003; B erkes 2004; Chapin 2004; Naughton Treves et al. 2005; Chan et al 2007). Projects often fail to achieve their dual social and environmental objectives largely due to the following issues: conservation strategies are established through externally led, topdown conservation initiatives that do not address local social problems (Brown 2003; Sharma 2008, personal communication) adequate resource access is not granted and restricted use zones or displacement occurs (Chan et al. 2007), local communities are insufficiently integrated in decision -making processes and development phases (Salafsky et al 2001; Chapin 2004; Garnett et al 2007), conservation costs are borne by the local communities, while the benefits go to outsider groups, particularly the touri st industry (Chan et al 2007) conflict resolution mechanisms are inadequate or lacking (Berkes 2006; Chan et al 2007), second stage planning for periods after project closures, including longterm monitoring and adaptive management to deal with unexpec ted problems are lacking (Lopez 2008, personal communication).
51 Integration of local and indigenous people at the community level should be a solution to habitat degradation (Horwich & Lyon 2007). Yet, appropriate management practices such as participatory strategies, zoning plans and notake areas causes much debate among conservation planners and associated stakeholders. For coastal and marine ecosystems, a large part of this controversy concerns the level of involvement of indigenous fishermen. F ishermen largely resist the establishment of no -take areas, which are often associated with access restriction s and limited freedom, significant financial losses, and loss of primary food resource (Stump & Kriwoken 2006). Conflicts tend to become severe especiall y in small island communities that exclusively rely on marine resources. People in these communities are spatially confined and often lack alternative livelihood strategies, which has often lead to violent conflicts. Necessary actions to ensure conservatio n of highly endangered species are often presumed as limitation of personal freedom and restricted access to important food resources for others (Heylings & Cruz 1998). A prime example is evident in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, where conflicts over re source rights have caused clashes between local interests and state -imposed rules and policies (Macdonald 1997; Viteri & Chavez 2007). Importance of Local Attitudes and Perceptions Scientists and conservation practitioners are beginning to realize that it is not enough to merely include local and indigenous people in the implementation of conservation strategies. It is important to examine the underlying reasons for regulations to be rejected, and to assess local priorities and resident perceptions towards resource conservation (Cinner & Pollnac 2004). Locals assessment has received growing recognition as a tool to assess opinions and potential areas of conflict and to direct management strategies to be more effective (Stump & Kriwoken 2006; Broad & Sanchi rico 2008; Hernndez Ramrez et al. 2008).) Positive and shared attitudes
52 towards MPAs and associated regulations have a positive impact on management and partnerships among actors, which can assist to implement site -specific management strategies (McClana han et al. 2005; Broad & Sanchirico 2008). Studies on local attitudes and perceptions towards conservation and development are a relatively recent trend. A number of studies have examined this issue based on differences that include demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as age, education, wealth, household level information, residence, and occupation (Walpole & Goodwin 2001; Cinner & Pollnac 2004; Gelcich et al. 2005; McClanahan et al. 2005; Stump & Kriwoken 2006; Tran 2006; Broad & Sanchiric o 2008; Hernndez Ramrez et al. 2008). Differences between these socio -economic characteristics have demonstrated to influence how people perceive their natural resources and management actions (Cinner & Pollnac 2004). Differences between communities: Man y conservation and development projects target regions that involve several communities or settlements. However, it is important to understand that communities are rarely homogeneous in their attitudes and perceptions. For example, two of six Chilean fishi ng communities showed strong positive attitudes towards conservation, while others in the same area viewed natural resources merely as a source of i ncome. Similarly, one community perceived fishing activities as highly regulated and opposed further regulat ions, while other communities seemed willing to accept new regulations (Gelcich et al. 2005). Another case showed that small -scale fishing communities in the Bahamas that were more reliant on tourism were more likely to support the creation of MPAs (Broad & Sanchirico 2008). Differences between occupations: Differences in attitudes and perceptions towards resource management also tend to differ between people based on occupations. Fishermen in Kenya had significantly different opinions than others who did not directly depend on the marine
53 resources (McClanahan et al. 2005). Similarly, attitudes and perceptions of MPA benefits can differ between homogeneous groups as demonstrated by commercial fishermen in Tasmania and evident of four different categories of opinions : pure restriction to resource access; areas set aside for conservation; enhancement of fishery and larval production ; and simply unnecessary (Stump & Kriwoken 2006). Participation in local decision making: The success of MPAs also depends on the willingness of local fishermen and other stakeholders to participate in decision-making processes and implementation of management strategies (Gelcich et al. 2005; McClanahan et al. 2005). Participation in local decision -making is an important variable to assess attitudes an d perceptions of local people: i t creates a sense of empowerment (Brown 2003), is likely to lead to adoption of responsibility towards a resource, and has shown to produce more positive perceptions towards conservation (Pomeroy et al. 1997; Horwich & Lyon 2007). Several studies have concluded that lack of local participation was often associated with lack of information and communication on resource conservation and management. For example, fishermen in Tasmania who participated in local decision -making had more positive attitudes towards regional conservation projects (Stump & Kriwoken 2006). Perceptions of R egulations and Compliance Enforcement of and compliance with regulations that pertain to marine resource management can constitute a very problematic issue (Honneland 1999). A general underlying reason for such behavior is that individuals act in their own interest even when their actions do not serve the longterm collective welfare of the community (Ostrom 1990). Criteria suggested t o mitigate this effect include limited access to the resource, design of rules by the users themselves, monitoring through accountable individuals, and graduated sanctions (Honneland 1999). Recently, research in the Philippines showed that fair and effecti ve law enforcement,
54 knowledge of the law, and consistency between laws and institutional goals positively contributed to sustainability and effectiveness of marine resources conservation (Christie & White 2007). Community support for the development of reg ulations and policies of MPAs is therefore of crucial importance (Broad & Sanchirico 2008). The prevailing argument by fishermen and other local actors relates to the difficulty to ensure compliance of regulations (Gelcich et al. 2005; Stump & Kriwoken 2006; Broad & Sanchirico 2008). Since regulations are frequently related to access rights and user restrictions, conflicts and lack of acceptance of MPAs generally exist A recurring problem among fishermen is often associated with harmful fishing practices (Cinner & Polln ac 2004; Stump & Kriwoken 2006) A n a s sessment of attitudes and perceptions to identify underlying causes of conflicts can assist to address issues and identify solutions that benefits both resource users and managers. Stateme nt of P roblem Conservation and development initiatives need to be adaptive and reconceptualized. The limited number of successful management strategies shows that mere community participation in the implementation phases is not sufficient as problems repeatedly arise suc h as, lack of acceptance of established protected areas, lack of compliance with regulations, and insufficient consideration of local opinions and perspectives. These issues frequently create conflicts and can largely be attributed to lack of awareness of existing differences in attitudes and perceptions of local stakeholders. Given that attitudes and perceptions towards marine resource management and existing regulations usually vary fundamentally, the one -size -fits all approach to conserve marine resour ces is difficult to apply (Broad & Sanchirico 2008). In order for conservation efforts to be successful, there is a need to understand site -specific differences in peoples attitudes and perceptions. Additionally, variables to assess information are based on socio cultural and economic characteristics between communities, resource utilization and local
55 stakeholders participation in decision -making processes. An examination of factors that influe nce attitudes and perceptions can be effective for resource ma nagers to identify root causes of environmental problems, and can thereby target conservation and management activities to local conditions (Cinner & Pollnac 2004). Purpose of Study The main objective of this research was to evaluate residents attitudes and perceptions of indigenous fishing communities towards marine resource use and current management practices. The aim was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the following issues: First, to identify differences in attitudes and perceptions of ind igenous fishermen towards cur rent marine resource management. Second, to examine awareness of existing regulations and perceived level of compliance of local regulations that pertains to marine resource management. Based on these objectives, the following research questions were formulated: 1 What are attitudes and perceptions towards marine resource management among small scale fishermen in marine -dependent communities in Kuna Yala, Panama? 2 What are the levels of awareness of existing regulations and percei ved problems of compliance? To specifically assess differences in attitudes and perceptions, both research questions were further analyzed based on three variables: community, type of resource utilization, and local participation in decision -making. Metho ds Study Site This research was conducted in the sovereign indigenous territory of Kuna Yala in northeastern Panama ( see Figure 2 1). The territory encompasses 320,600 ha of continental rainforest and adjacent coastal waters with about 480 km of coastal zo ne in an extensive archipelago of over 360 islands (Guzman et al. 2003). The regions coral ree fs are among the
56 best preserved and have the highest diversity of species in the Biogeographic Coast of the North West Atlantic (CODESTA 2005). The Kuna people l ive in 38 communities located on the islands, while another 11 communities are located in the coastal zones and in forested lands on the mainland. The current Kuna population is estimated to be approximately 50,000 people with 47% in Panama City and Coln, and 53% in Kuna Yala (Solis 2007, personal communication). The most drastic problems the Kuna currently experience are overpopulation, overfishing, and extraction of corals for building material (CODESTA 2005). In the past thirty years, living coral cover has declined by 79 % (Guzman et al. 2003). However, official legislation to control the extraction of corals does not exist. As a result, more than 50% of the coral reefs in the region are at risk of extinction (Guzman et al. 2003) The research site is located in the mid -no rtheastern part of the Comarca. It comprises of six communities, Wargandup Nargana Akuanusadup, Digir Tikantiki, and Maguebgandi which are located in close proximity to one another and collectively form the administrative district of Nargana (see Figur e 2 2 ). Several small protected areas have been established within the research area by the local organization Balu Uala, but lack management plans. They are in close proximity to the six communities with the sole objective to provide lobster refugee zones The area was selected for this study due to several unique features such as established local ownership, full local participation, and conservation and development strategies that are based on locally identified goals. The six communities collectively fo rm the local association Fuerza Unida de Seis Pueblos (FUSPU), which is a 20 year old community -based institution. The association is united to effectively address environmental, cultural, socio-economic and political issues in the communities and to the Congreso General Kuna or General Kuna Congress (CGK), which is the highest political authority of the Kuna. FUS PU has identified short, medium and
57 long -term conservation and development goals based on local visions and needs. With the support of a locally-b ased private development organization (PDO), FUSPU has been implementing conservation efforts since 2003. The assistance they receive from the PDO is mostly in form of administrative and technical support, while goals and activities are locally defined and implemented Data Collection Data were collected during June to July 2007 among residents in each of the six communitie s. Introductory meetings were held in each community with the respective village chiefs ( saila ) to explain the purpose of study and to e nsure their consent. Core methods included collection of secondary data, in -depth interviews and unstructured interviews with key stakeholders, and participant observation. T hirty two semi -structured interviews were conducted among participants who were id entified and selected based on criterion and snowball sampling methods (Bernard 2000) The study population consisted of two stakeholder groups: Local stakeholders who participated in conservation and development projects coordinated by FUSPU (10 interview s), and local fishermen who were the primary user group of the marine resources (22 interviews). Some fishermen were marginally involved in the projects through voluntary participation in community meetings, while others were not involved in the projects. Three additional interviews were conducted with local key stakeholders who were knowledgeable in re gional processes and respected members of their communities. Instrumentation The interview template was created in the Spanish language. All interviews were conducted in Spanish and Kuna with the help of a local translator. The translator accompanied every interview and ensured that even those interviewees who were fluent in the Spanish language could express their opinions and beliefs in the most detailed and comfortable manner.
58 The average length of duration for an interview was one to two hours. Each interview was immediately reviewed with the translator after conducting it to ensure that all information was captured and understood adequately. Each intervie w was later typed in the Spanish language to avoid data loss through translation. The interviews comprised of four main sections ( See Interview guide in Appendix A ). In the first section, participants provided demographic and socio-economic information. T his included information on age, community in which participants lived, household demographics, and years of education. Socio -economic information included occupation and main source of income. In the second section, respondents were asked about the types of marine activities they were engaged in, which included spatial information on fishing grounds, financial gains from marine resources, as well as types of catch and the portions used for sale and p ersonal consumption. The third section asked for the part icipants perceptions with respect to the overall conditions of marine resources, and their perception of threats, problems and solutions that affect the current marine resource management. This section further assessed participants general attitudes towa rds successes and failures of the current marine resource management. In the fourth section, participants were asked for their knowledge of existing regulations of m arine resource management, and their perception o f the level of compliance with regulations Each interview concluded with an option for additional comments Interviewees were given pseudonym names to ensure personal confidentiality. Data Analysis Based on the research questions, d ata were segmented into two general themes: 1 Gener al attitudes and perceptions towards current marine resource management 2 Awareness and perceptions of compliance with marinerelated regulations
59 T o assess general attitudes and perceptions of the study population, participants were asked to first describe the conditions of the water and marine life and the potential threats. Probing questions were asked that included their perception of problems that existed and possible solutions. Furthermore, they were asked to state successes and failures of the current marine resource management. All results were based on participants responses; no pre defined answer options were given. Information on the level of knowledge with respect to awareness and perceptions of compliance with existing regulations was obtained by assessing access, use restrictions, and management of marine resources. Participants were asked to state if they knew of existing regulations of several marine use forms. These categories were predefined and included: fishing, lobster diving, mangr ove use, coral use, tourism, and protected area. Variables were dichotomous with the values of yes and no. Each of these two main themes w as further analyzed in terms of: a) community, b) resource utilization, and c) participation in local decision -making processes. For analysis at the communitylevel, the six communities were grouped in to two cultural categories, traditional and westernized, based on the level of survival of local traditions. To assess differences in perceptions based on occupat ions, data were categorized into different levels of marine resource utilization Since most people in Kuna Yala pursue two or three occupations simultaneously, it was not suitable to categorize the study population into divers, farmers or fishermen. Inste ad, categories were based on the main income source and were defined as: Main income from marine resources (IMR): Participants in this category have their main cash income derived from marine sources, especially fish and lobster. Secondary activities such as agriculture or retail sales may also be conducted but have less influence.
60 Main income from other sources (IOS): Participants in this category use marine resources for subsistence purposes only, but their main income is derived from coconut harvest, ag riculture, or other sources. Participants in this group do not dive for lobsters. Local participation in decision -making processes was defined by participation in weekly village meetings in the local congress, follow up on decisions of the General Kuna Congress, or participation in FUSPU meetings. Any one of these activities was noted as participation. Differences were identified based on a three -point Likert scale that measured the level of participation in the three categories noted below: No participati on : Participant does not take part in voluntary village meetings and shows no interest of involvement in resource management. Moderate participation : Participant occasionally participates in local meetings and generally follows decisions made regarding mar ine resource management. Active participation : Participant actively engages in local village meetings, FUSPU meetings and is well informed about local and regional processes related to conservation and use of the marine resources. Primary data analysis fol lowed the focused coding method. As a selective and conceptual method, focused coding enables the creation of categories to capture the data (Emerson 2001). This method proved useful to capture the data from open-ended questions. Descriptive statistical an alysis such as frequencies and cross tabulation analyses was conducted using the SPSS program for all analysis. Results Profile of Participants Interview participants represented inhabitants from all six communities ( see Table. 3 1). All respondents (n=32) were male as fishing and marine use is an exclusively male activity. The largest group of respondents was 5160 years of age (28.1%); the oldest respondent was 76 years old, the youngest was 21. Almost half of the respondents had primary education with s ix years of schooling or less (46.9%); the other half had some high school education (53.1%) and in one
61 case had a university education. Most respondents engaged in multiple activities to meet subsistence and economic needs. The primary work was agriculture (56.3%), while the primary source of income was lobster diving (40.6%). (See Table 3 2) General Attitudes and Perceptions Marine resource activities play an important role in Kuna livelihoods. Income generation and conservation were noted as most impor tant (36.4%), followed by subsistence food source (22.7%). Only 5% noted that coastal waters were not important as they were farmers who mostly worked on the mainland (See Table 3 3). A majority of respondents (90.9%) found the overall conditions of marine resources had changed. The decline of lobster (37.5%) and fish (25.0%) populations, increased numbers of divers and fishers (15.6%) and dying corals (9.4%) were noted as the main observed changes (see Table 3 4). The key identified threats (see Table 3 5) that influenced these changes were destructive fishing practices (58.1%) and the rapid increase of lobster divers (19.4%). Other causes identified included, the use of live coral for landfills (19.4%), and garbage in the water and on the islands (12.5%). Some respondents also believed the Kuna spiritual belief system played a role of being counterproductive to conservation, wherein plants and animals will never cease to exist (12.9%). Several specific problems with the current marine resource management w ere also recognized. Noncompliance with regulations on marine resource use by many divers (68.2%) as a result of insufficient enforcement by the authorities (59.1%) was predominately mentioned. Further, participants felt a lack of communication and informa tion with respect to marine management issues (36.4%), which resulted in lack of acceptance of the protected areas (31.8%). (See Table 3 6)
62 With respect to solutions to these problems, the need for more control and patrolling of the protected area waters ( 31%), and the creation of capacities such as education and awareness raising measures (28.1%) were ranked the highest. Better information and communication about project proceedings (27.6%), decisions about regulations on marine management and respective a ctions and decisions of FUSPU were also frequently mentioned. These included changing the dates of the closed season1 (20.7%) and the need for more financial transparency (12.5%) (See Table 3 7). Attitudes and perceptions by community The socio -cultural s tructure and economic development of the communities had a significant influence on peoples perceptions and attitudes. Local ties are strong, and similarities in responses suggest that people discuss and debate marine issues within their community. Tikant iki and Maguebgandi are the most traditional Kuna communities with the least infrastructure and lack any tourism activity. Overall, people from these two communities had very positive opinions about the protected areas. The closed season was discussed exte nsively, but more so in terms of time and season; the benefit of it was generally accepted During the veda the marine resources increase, which means that the veda works. Therefore a solution would be to introduce another veda, maybe from October to Dece mber, because I see that their number increases during that time which means that this is their rep roductive cycle. (Jorge Garca, 29, Maguebgandi) The veda should be changed to December until Feburary, when there is no school and we have less spending for the kids. (Arcadio Martinez, 52, Tikantiki) People in Maguebgandi seemed to be especially concerned about the lack of income alternatives and the exploitation of seafood. The inhabitants considered solutions with a practical approach that is strongly embe dded in their social activities and livelihoods, such as changing 1 In 1999 the Kuna General Congress established a closed season for seafood conservation called veda from March through May (Castillo & Lessios 2001). During this time lobster, conch and king crab may not be caught or sold.
63 dates of the closed season and creating a seafood farm. The other four communities of Wargandup, Akuanusadup, Nargana, and Digir showed a higher level of environmental awareness as responde nts proposed solutions that directly targeted managerial issues. Higher exposure to tourism in Digir and the long presence of the Panamanian military in Nargana and Akuanusadup had altered the residents perceptions about marine resource management. Most residents identified problems associated with the level of enforcement of regulations, protected area management and information management. Respondents proposed solutions in all four communities and included measures to increase capacities, such as enhanci ng awareness and education, improving communicati on and information, and increasing control mechanisms by patrolling restricted use areas. Attitudes and perceptions by resource utilization Most people pursue two or more different jobs ( pluriactivity ) ( see Table 3 8). The majority of respondents (56.3%) stated agriculture as their primary profession However, the main source of income was lobster diving (40.6%). Agriculture and fishing serve mainly subsistence purposes, whereas lobster diving was viewed pure ly as cash income. Almost 60% of the respondents derive d their main income from marine resources (IMR). About 40% of respondents use d the marine resources for subsistence purposes, but receive d their main income from other sources (IOS), such as agricultur e, retail sales or tourism. The majority of both groups perceived destructive fishing practices to be the single most severe threat to marine life (75% IMR and 53% IOS), and consequently both groups believed noncompliance with regulations as a major probl em (40% IMR and 38.5% IOS): The people dont follow the rules. The divers take out the little lobster, but the inspectors do not call them out, they accept sma ll lobster. (Laureliano Ortega, 35 Tikantiki) There are people who dive for lobster inside the p rotected areas, because there is no control and no one monitors them. This is a problem. (Hctor Castro, 54 Nargana)
64 The worry about lack of income alternatives (26.3% IMR and 15.4% IOS) was also recognized as a major issue in both groups. Visitor control was a problematic issue for 15.8% of the IMR group and for almost twice as many of the IOS group (30.8%). This could likely be an indication that tourism is indeed increasing in importance and accrues more problems without existence of appropriate control mechanisms. Tourists and their yachts come without getting a permit. Nobody knows how many come. Sometimes we have over 20 yachts in one area at a time. They steal our coconuts which is our income. What is lacking is a way to control the tourists, to tel l them what they can do and what they cannot do. I cant talk to them. They dont understa nd my language. (Simn Daz, 67 Digir) Problems mentioned by both user groups differed. They mainly focused on management issues2 perceived by the IOS group and issu es related to overfishing3 by the IMR group. Interestingly, 46.2% of the IOS group mentioned lack of acceptance of the protected areas by many people including divers as a problem, while only 10.5% of the IMR group found this to be an issue. This was somew hat unexpected as the lack of acceptance of the MPAs was thought to be higher among divers and fishermen as they are most affected by them. Perceptions of potential solutions to these problems varied significantly among the two user groups. The most widely stated solution by the IMR group related to the closed season. Nearly 40% stated their wish to change the time of the closed season to different months or to add a second closed season to allow lobster more time to reproduce. Only 7.7% of the IOS group vi ewed changes in the closed season as a solution. Conversely, the IOS group primarily proposed better project leadership and more visual actions as ways to improve the current marine management. Only two similarities were detected, namely the need for more patrols and control 2 Lack of visitor control, lack of information and communication, lack of regulation enforcement 3 Clandestine seafood sales, exploitation of seafood, lack of action, lack of awareness and education
65 mechanisms (31.6% IMR, 23.1% IOS), and creation of capacities such as raising awareness and education (38.9% IMR, 38.5% IOS). Overall perceptions showed that the protected areas were generally seen as a very positive measure for conserv ation purposes, as was the veda (closed season). Participants demonstrated the most negative attitudes towards specific management patterns such as enforcement of regulations and other control issues rather than the overall aims of conservation. Attitudes and perceptions by local participation Overall, those who actively participated in decision -making processes were more likely to have an opinion, positive as well as negative. They perceived threats or problems with marine resources more frequently; they w ere more critical of cu rrent marine management affairs and better informed about issues and problems ( Table 3 9). The key problems identified were related to protected area management and overfishing (destructive fishing practices, noncompliance with regul ations, lack of awareness and education, lack of income alternatives). Proposed solutions included the need to improve control mechanisms inside protected areas, patrol boats to manage tourism, the creation of capacities through specific seminars on marine protected area management, tourism management, and environmental education. Those who did not participate in decision -making predominantly noted information management, e.g. l ack of action and continuity, lack of management o f their concern and informatio n Awareness and Perceptions of Existing R egulations The introduction of western -style laws and restrictions is a recent development. A frequent comment regarding regulation of marine resource use was: Little by little the regulations will come. In my ge neration nobody ever spoke of this. Before, we always broke up the live stones, for example to build the airstrip. These projects are new to us. Now there are buoys, veda, turtle fishing is prohibited, and there are inspectors to whom you have to present y our lobster to see if it has the minimum size of 8 cm. (Prisciliano Escobar, 76 Akuanusadup)
66 Such comments likely lead to the assumption that conservation mechanisms have not been internalized by the Kuna people. Recurrent discussions of these issues suggest that most people perceive the necessity for these regulations, but it will likely take some time until they become fully accepted. Currently, official regulations only exist for lobster fishing4, tourism5, and other activities inside the protected area s6. Perceived compliance with the regulations was a major problem. Overall, 68.4% of participants perceived that most people did not or only partly comply with the existing regulations on marine resources. Most frequently observed breaches included lobster diving inside protected areas, harvest ing and selling juvenile and female lobster that carried eggs, and clandestine sales to tourists and intermediaries. Participants perceived the main problematic group to be adolescent divers who did not pursue other t ypes of work and were more dependent on lobster than others who also worked in farming. This group was viewed to be most problematic as they showed no respect for regulations. The main problems are destruction of the live stones to reach the lobster, and harvest of juveniles and females. From all this you can see that those [young] divers dont care, they only think about themselves and about money. Many [of them] dont like the protected area. They say that the sea is free for everyone and they want to di ve wher ever they want. (Gilberto Ossa 37 Wargandup) Participants frequently noted the need for better control mechanisms such as patrol boats to address the problem. Other recommendations suggested included lobster diver education7, and better training fo r inspectors. 4 Closed season, 8 cm minimum carcass length for lobster, prohibition to catch females that carry eggs 5 Tourism regulations only exist in Digir and are purely communitybased 6 Only artisanal fishing is allowed inside the protected areas; diving for lobster is prohibited 7 M ostly mentioned in Digir
67 Awareness and perceptions of regulations by community Rules to regulate lobster fishing and the protected areas were well known throughout the area. About 85.7% of respondents in five communities (not including Maguebgandi) were aware that re gulations existed on lobster fishing, and 82.1% of respondents (not including Maguebgandi) were aware that protected areas were regulated (Table 3 10). Maguebgandi is an extreme case and was therefore excluded. This remotely located community demonstrated a different perspective; none of the participants mentioned any knowledge of regulations in any of the categories provided. A plausible explanation was given by one of the respondents from Maguebgandi: Here in Maguebgandi we are too far away from the other communities. We dont have rules for the marine resources here. (Paulino Lopez, 34, Maguebgandi) Tourism related regulations in Tikantiki and Maguebgandi were largely not discussed as tourism was not evident in either of these communities. Tourism is curr ently only regulated in Digir. About 72.2% of respondents from Digir stated knowledge of such regulations, while the remaining 27.3% were not aware of tourism related regulations Results suggest that regulations were likely not well communicated. M oreover m angroves and corals were not officially managed, but a significant number of respondents believed that mangrove and coral extraction were regulated Awareness and perceptions of regulations by resource utilization Regulations for lobster fishing and pr otected area use were generally well known, regardless of the intensity of marine resource use. However, 92.3% of the IOS group correctly stated the existence of lobster regulations, while only 63.2% of the primary fishermen knew of such rules. This could be explained by misunderstandings, whereby the closed season might not have been perceived as a regulation. However, it is likely that those who did have an income
68 alternative to lobster harvest more likely accepted the existing regulations. Both the prote cted area and the closed season stirred much discussion among the people. R esults demonstrate that those who were engaged in tourism and retail sales were generally more aware of the existing regulations (Table 3 11). Perceptions of regulations by local p articipation Knowledge of existing policies on marine resource use appeared to be better known among those who were actively involved in local decision-making processes. Correct answers (lobster diving, tourism, protected area) were mostly given by those w ho regularly participated in local political or managerial affairs. The results showed a gradual increase in knowledge of rules based on the level of participation ( see Table 3 12). Tourism was frequently treated as generally regulated. The results showed the same gradual increase in knowledge of such regulations. Results suggest that tourism was extensively discussed in village meetings. The sailas (village chiefs) were generally actively participative and were supposed to enforce the established rules. Ho wever, a recurring problem existed whereby rhetoric exercised during the communal meetings was not always followed by action, as one respondent stated: The Congress prohibited killing turtles. The sailas applauded but nothing happened. (Hctor Castro, 54 Akuanusadup) Discussion General P erceptions Overall, t he protected areas in the research site were perceived to be very positive. Although there is no official recognition by the national government or international institutions such as IUCN, therefore all regulative mechanisms have been created by the local authorities. This process has created a stronger sense of ownership and empowerment, which could have contributed to the overall acceptance of regulations (Brown 2003). The key issues mentioned in
69 the s ix communities were mostly associated with human induced processes, and not related to natural events such as hurricanes, floods, or species fluctuations (Mora 2007). S imilar ly to previous research harmful fishing practices were perceived as the most seri ous threats to marine life (Cinner & Pollnac 2004; Stump & Kriwoken 2006). Such practices included, fishing of juvenile lobster and of females that carry eggs, and destructive techniques to draw them out of their caves, i.e, breaking the rock and spraying of Clorox bleach into lobster caves. There was also general awareness that the lobster population was decreasing at an alarming rate. It was a common belief that the time for the closed season was chosen based on the lobsters reproductive cycle. However, researchers have found that lobster reproduce year round (Castillo & Lessios 2001). Findings suggested that there seemed to be quite a bit of confusion with regard s to regulations. People were unsure as to which marine resources were officially regulated. Community: This research supports findings in the literature about the common misperception that communities especially indigenous cultures are homogenous, i.e, a community is viewed as one unit with certain attitudes and beliefs (Agrawal & Gibson, 1999). Similar to other studies that have assessed community perceptions and attitudes (Gelcich et al. 2005; Broad & Sanchirico 2008), this study found significant differences between communities with regards to socioeconomic differences such as exposure to tourism activities. Findings in this study differ from other studies whereby differences in attitudes were based on other factors, such as wealth and education (Cinner & Pollnac 2004). Instead, the level of traditional Kuna livelihood as practiced in the communities had a significant influence on peoples perceptions and attitudes.
70 Occupation: Differences in attitudes among seemingly homogeneous groups such as fishermen can lead to conflicts (McClanahan et al. 2005; Stump & Kriwoken 2006). At times, these can turn into violent actions if a situation escalates due to either, misunderstandings, lack of information and trust, or lack of knowledge of underlying concerns of different stakeholder groups (Heylings & Cruz 1998; Macdonald 1997). Therefore, the heter ogeneity of stakeholder attitudes must be considered in the planning and development of conservationrelated activities (Gelcich et al. 2005). This study found highly important differences in fishermens attitudes towards marine resource management that can be of crucial importance for future management strategies. Conflicts with respect to the protected areas in Kuna Yala have begun to include violent actions. Six hand painted signs indicating a conservation area with restricted resource use were set up at each of the designated protected areas within the research area ( see Figure 3 1 ). H owever, within three weeks five of the six signs were torn down. No one seemed to know the culprit, but most people agreed that it was likely the group of young lobster fis hermen who were the strongest opponents of the protected areas as they perceived their access restricted. Participation: Projects often failed where local and indigenous communities were not included in decision-making and development phases (Garnett et al 2007; Salafsky et al. 2001). Findings showed that participation in local processes affected recognition and knowledge of issues related to marine resources. Active participation is likely to have a great impact on peoples perceptions. Those who were inv olved in local processes were more knowledgeable of regulations and more likely to have critical opinion s on marine resource management. Participation encouraged action among fishermen to debate solutions with respect to compliance issues, lack of income a lternatives, and overfishing. As a result, resident fishermen from Digir decided to create a cooperative of lobster divers which was proudly elaborated during several
71 interviews. People in Digir were accustomed to being actively engaged in local initiatives through their long experience with community-based tourism. Such action creates a sense of ownership and pride for the home region (Pomeroy et al. 1997). Compliance: Results of previous studies (Cinner & Pollnac 2004; Gelcich et al. 2005; Stump & Kriwoke n 2006; Broad & Sanchirico 2008) are supported in that compliance issues with existing regulations are a major problem. Respondents believed that only about one third of all fishermen in the six communities fully complied with the existing regulations. Par ticipants mostly blamed a subgroup of adolescent Kuna fishermen who committed themselves exclusively to lobster diving and largely disrespect ed regulations. Several fishermen stated that this group perceived lobster fishing as a sport and did not respect t he closed season or fishing restrictions inside the protected areas. Apart from this subgroup, participants were generally concerned about the limited alternatives for generating income. During the closed season, this opportunity for income was not available. Several participants stated that the closed season coincided with the beginning of the new school year, when the necessity for money is greater because of the need to buy school supplies for their children. The lack of incentives such as different liv elihood options to generate this needed income could imply the persistence of harmful or illegal fishing techniques and thus the lack of compliance with existing regulations (McConney & Baldeo 2007). Implications and R ecommendations Based on the findin gs of this study, several recommendations can be identified and generalized. First, differences between communities and people of similar professions suggest that attitudes and perceptions of local resource users and stakeholders can be identified prior to the development and implementation of a management strategy. This is to ensure that areas of concern and differences in priorities such as lack of income alternatives and restricted access to
72 the resource can be targeted appropriately in the creation of m anagement strategies. A baseline assessment such as the one that is recommended by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) can provide the foundation of the information and can be adjusted to regional needs (CBD 2004). Second, based on the baseline in formation, capacity -building measures such as education and training should be targeted to the different audiences and stakeholder groups that were identified. Capacity -building and environmental awareness are one option to create an unders tanding of the n eed to conserve. However, one -size -fits all approaches to capacity building run the risk of not targeting all stakeholder groups. Discussion or focus groups that represent the broad spectrum of opinions can help to further clarify conflict areas and iden tify incentives or other means to reach a solution that benefits all parties. The highest individual capacities in this study were found in those communities with higher exposure to tourism and in which several capacity building workshops were conducted in 2005. Capacity-building enables higher levels of participation and thereby fosters the sense for local ownership and empowerment which can lead to the development of responsibility for the resource of concern and thereby to increasing care for its protect ion. Third, conflicts need to be resolved or avoided if possible. This can be achieved though specifically targeted capacity building and by inclusion of local stakeholders in decision-making and planning processes from the beginning. The case of the Kuna showed that locally -based conservation and development initiatives can be very successful. Outside support should be limited to the needs of the respective community and provided in the form of technical, administrative, or managerial support if needed.
73 Fourth, projects should be targeted to create visual outputs in relative short periods of time to keep local people encouraged to participate. About 18% of the participants found lack of action and continuity in the projects to be a problem, and 12.5% prop osed more visual actions as a solution to the general managerial problems. One of several small -scale tourism related conservation and development projects did aim to provide visual results. The project had the aim to show people that conservation pays w hile at the same time improving visitor management. Island owners were encouraged to keep their beaches clean from garbage and in return received US$ 2 entrance fee per day for each visitor. With the help from the private development organization this was relatively feasible to set up and results were visible within six months (see Figure 3 5). Fifth, conservation projects should be small in both spatial and temporal scale When initial phases take up too much time without producing visual outputs, people become disillusioned and lose interest. Local stakeholders must be able to see that their efforts are being successful. Many people in Kuna Yala were frustrated with a perceived lack of action and continuity, where they did not see immediate or obvious resu lts of the project. To provide such visual outputs, a series of small -scale projects instead of one large project proved successful. If projects follow previously defined sh ort, medium and long term goals and objectives which should be identified by local stakeholder groups, then each mini -project can incorporate some form of visual results to demonstrate that their efforts are being paid off (Horwich & Lyon 2007). Conclusions Integration of local and indigenous communities in conservation and development projects is complex. Redford and Sanderson (2000) argued that indigenous people should have the liberty to decide upon the management of their lands and resources. However, often local and
74 indigenous communities lack the necessary technical and administrat ive knowledge. Therefore it is important to find an amicable solution that allows local communities in pristine areas to manage resources based on their own cultural standards, but also provide for an opportunity to support their goals and objectives if they seek it. This research provided a step in this direction. The main objective was to identify perceptions, attitudes, and behavioral patterns of local fishermen in order to assess their ability and knowledge with regards to marine resource management. T he results indicate that there are significant differences in peoples opinions and perceptions of current problems associated with marine resource use and management. The study showed that communities are heterogeneous and should not be approached as one unit; instead, multiple actors and opinions are present which need to be respected. This should be taken into account for all conservation -related activities. Stakeholders should also not be grouped based on their profession (e.g. lobster divers, or fis hermen ). The study revealed that attitudes and behaviors of people differ according to the ir level of marine resource use and not by a certain profession. Participation in decision -making processes, even if only at the communitylevel showed to have posit ive effects on peoples awareness and knowledge of marine issues such as conservation and management, tourism, and information management. The results support the literature on the importance of local participation in conservation and development activitie s. Community-based ownership and decision-making authority can be realized. Creating capacities at the individual and institutional level are important cornerstones for implementing this approach to community -based conservation and development. Assessment of perceptions and attitudes of those affected is absolutely essential in order to identify areas of conflict, acceptance or decline of certain practices, and to gain insight into certain behavioral patterns.
75 Based on such a foundation of baseline informat ion, capacity -building measures can be targeted more effectively toward different stakeholder groups, address areas of concern to the people and ensure that all different stakeholder groups get involved. Capacity -building measures should encourage more peo ple to actively participate in processes with regards to their community. Such measures should in addition provide local people with the technical and administrative knowledge to realize their visions and goals. This approach needs to be further tested in the field to evaluate its effectiveness in other geographic settings.
76 Table 3 1. Sample size of study population Community Population No of Participants Freq % Wargandup 440 6 18.8 Akuanusadup 370 4 12.5 Nargana 605 4 12.5 Digir 889 9 28.1 Tikan tiki 890 5 15.6 Maguebgandi 207 4 12.5 Table 3 2. Demographic characteristics of study population Age group (%) Education level (%) Occupation % primary work % main income <20 0 1 3 y 6.3 Lobster diving 21.9 40.6 21 30 9.4 4 6 y 40.6 Fishing 9.4 18. 8 31 40 18.8 7 9 y 31.2 Agriculture 56.3 18.8 41 50 15.6 10 12 y 18.8 Retail 0 9.4 51 60 28.1 university level 3.1 Retired 3.1 3. 1 61 70 15.6 Other 9.4 9.4 >70 12.5 Table 3 3. Importance of marine resources to people Importance of marine resources (%) Conservation 36.4 Income Generation 36.4 Food Source 22.7 No importance 4.5 Table 3 4. Perception of c hange of marine conditions Have conditions changed? (%) How have they changed? (%) Yes 90.9 Less lobster 37.5 No 9.1 Less fish 25 .0 More fishermen 15.6 Corals dying 9.4 Other 6.2
77 Table 3 5. Threats to marine resources Threats to marine resources (%) 1 Destructive fishing practices 58.1 2 Too many lobster divers 19.4 3 Landfills with live coral 19.4 4 Kuna cosmovisi on 12.9 5 Garbage in water and on land 12.5 6 Gasoline 3.2 7 No threats 21.9 Table.3 6. Identified problems with current marine resource ma nagement Problems of current marine resource management (%) 1 Noncompliance with existing regulations 68.2 2 No enforcement of rules 59.1 3 Lack of information and communication 36.4 4 Lack of acceptance of PA 31.8 5 Lack of income alternatives 27.3 6 Exploitation of seafood 27.3 7 Lack of visitor control 22.7 8 Lack of awareness and education 22. 7 9 Lack of action and continuity 18.2 10 Clandestine sales of seafood 13.6 11 Lack of waste management 9.1 12 People do not voice their concern 9.1 13 Large protected areas lead to problems 4.5 14 Other 13.6 Table 3 7. Identified solutions to improve marine resource management Identified solutions to problems (%) 1 More control and patrolling 31.0 2 Create capacities: education + awareness 28.1 3 Change or add veda 27.6 4 Better information and communication 27.6 5 Develop better rules and regulations 20.7 6 Provide more visual actions and transparency 12.5 7 Controlled/limited use of fishing grounds 14.3 8 Create income alternatives and monetary incentives 9.4 9 More information for tourists 6.9 10 Better leadership in th e RPMK project 6.9 11 Form lobster cooperative 6.9 12 Create seafood farm to counteract overfishing 3.1 13 More dedication and enthusiasm 3.1 14 Other 15.6
78 Table 3 8. Pluriactivity of respondents Type of work % primary work % secondary work % mai n source of income Fishing 9.4 37.5 18.8 Lobster diving 21.9 15.6 40.6 Agricultur e* 56.3 15.6 18.8 Retail sales 0 3.1 9.4 Retirement 3.1 0 3.1 Other 9.4 3.1 9.4 *The Kuna mainly grow yucca, pineapple, and coconuts. Coconuts have the largest financ ial value of US $0.12 a piece Table 3 9. Participation in decision -making processes Level of participa tion Protected area Signs Veda FUSPU and project Tourism activities Control of divers %pos %neg %pos %neg %pos %neg %pos %neg %pos %neg %neg none 69.2 0 7.7 0 53.8 15.4 7.7 7.7 0 7.7 0 moderate 75 0 12.5 0 12.5 0 25 37.5 0 25 62.5 active 40 10 10 10 40 10 0 30 10 10 20 Table 3 10. Knowledge of regulations by community Fishing (%) Diving (%) Mangrove use (%) Coral use (%) Tourism (%) Prote cted area (%) Wargandup 16.7 83.3 33.3 33.3 66.7 33.3 Akuanusadup 25 75 0 0 75 100 Nargana 50 100 80.4 44.5 50 100 Digir 18.2 90.9 9.1 63.6 72.7 90.9 Tikantiki 40 80 80 100 20 100 Maguebgandi 0 0 0 0 0 0 TOTAL % 25.0% 85.7% 32.1% 53.6% 60.7% 82.1% Table 3 11. Knowledge of regulations by resource utilization % Main income from marine resources (IMR) % Main income from other sources (IOS) F ishing 21.1 23.1 D iving 63.2 92.3 M angrove use 26.3 30.8 C oral use 36.8 61.5 T ourism 42.1 69.2 P rotec ted area 68.4 76.9 *These categories currently are regulated
79 Table 3 12. Knowledge of regulations by participation N o participation (%) Moderate participation (%) Active partici p a tion (%) F ishing 7.1 50 20 D iving 57.1 87.5 90 M angrove use 21.4 50 2 0 C oral use 35.7 62.5 50 T ourism 35.7 62.5 70 P rotected area 64.3 75 80
80 Figure 3 1 Hand -painted signs indicating marine conservation areas A B Figure 3 2 Before and after the beach cleaning project : A shows the beach before the owner of the island joined the project; B shows the beach of a different island after joining the project.
81 CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION This paper examined socio -economic indicators and factors that influence perceptions of local marine resource use among residents of si x indigenous fishing villages in Kuna Yala, Panama. The study consisted of two approaches: The first part assessed socio-economic baseline information to provide an overview of demographic, social, cultural, economic, and legal aspects that pertain to natu ral resource management and livelihood characters of Kuna fishermen. Based on this, an in -depth analysis was conducted to assess perceptions and attitudes of fishermen in order to analyze local opinions, conservation priorities, and areas of conflict in the research area. Main findings of this research overall suggest that the importance of assessing baseline information and local perceptions in conservation and development projects is still largely underestimated. S ocioeconomic baseline information can be used as part of an ongoing monitoring program, rather than a one time assessment Thereby, it can identify trends and changes in community and household demographic and economic characteristics, coastal activities, and peoples perceptions about coastal an d community issues. Even if this information were only collected to provide a preliminary one -shot assessment of a local community and its interactions with natural resources, it could help target conservation measures more specifically and adjust them to local circumstances. However, a complete assessment of the local situation cannot be achieved without in-depth analysis of community perceptions, attitudes, and related behavior patterns regarding resource use. As the second part of this study found, unde rstanding the perceptions and attitudes of different stakeholder groups within an area can help understand the responses of the groups to existing policies or activities In natural resource management, there are often widespread differences in perceptions of local conditions (Gelcich et al. 2005). Verification of these
82 differences can help mitigate conflicts and create a common understanding of issues of concern among local residents. Especially with regard to issues related compliance with regulations, kn owing why certain people reject management strategies can help finding solutions to the problem. To be able to target any conservation and development initiative to local circumstances and priorities, an assessment of such information is a crucial starting point. True partnership in conservation begins with sharing of information and thereby creating trust. If stakeholder concerns are identified and taken into consideration when developing conservation-related activities, conservation measures can be designed as part of local livelihoods and woven into the local culture. However, it is important that local actors are accepted as the ma in drivers of these initiatives This is an important aspect for long term success of conservation and development. The case of the Kuna showed that local ownership in project development and implementation is possible, and that indigenous people are capable of designing their own conservation strategies. Outside support is encouraged but should be limited to technical or admini strative knowledge
83 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE Interview questions Answer categories Open ended comments Interview number Section I: Demographic Age of interview partner 0 20, 21 30, 31 40, 41 50, 51 60, 61 70, 71+ Which community do you live in? How many people live in your household? How many of the household members are adults? How many of the household members are children? How many years of education have you had? 1 3 years, 4 6 years, 7 9 years, 10 12 years, university level, none How many years of education has your wife had? 1 3 years, 4 6 years, 7 9 years, 10 12 years, university level, none Socio economic What is your primary profession? lobster diving, fishing, agriculture, coconut harvest, retail sales, retired, ot her What is your secondary profession? lobster diving, fishing, agriculture, coconut harvest, retail sales, retired, other What is your wifes main profession? housewife, teacher, agriculture, health care center, retail, other What is your main sour ce of income? lobster diving, fishing, agriculture, coconut harvest, retail sales, retired, other What kind of importance do the marine resources have for you? conservation, income generation, food source, no importance open ended Section II: Marine A ctivities What marine activities do you engage in? lobster diving, fishing What type of seafood do you catch? Red Snapper, grouper, grunt, yellowtail snapper, squirrelfish, etc How much time do you spend per day/week for these activities? 2, 3, 4 tim es per week, daily, once a week, 3 hrs per day, etc. What is the financial value of in $/day or in $/lb (for lobster)
84 your catch per day/week? What do you use it for? sale, consumption What fishing / diving locations do you use? named islands and are as, mostly through landmarks When do you go out to fish or dive throughout the year? permanently, seasonal, summer, winter What types of fish do you catch at the locations you go to? Red Snapper, grouper, grunt, yellowtail snapper, squirrelfish, etc What quantity do you catch per day? in lb In comparison to today, what quantities and financial values did you make 10 years ago? open ended Section III: Environmental Perceptions How do you perceive the conditions of the marine resources? very poor, poor, neither good nor poor, good, very good In your opinion, have the conditions changed over the past 5 10 years? yes, no If yes, how have the conditions changed? less lobster, less fish, more divers, corals dying, other open ended In your opinion what are the main threats that affect the health conditions of the marine resources? destructive fishing practices, too many divers, garbage, noncompliance of regulations, land filling with live coral, change of culture, uninformed tourists, dependence on tourism, gasoline that gets into the water, no threats, invalid answer open ended Apart from the threats, what would you say are the main problems the current marine resource management is facing? noncompliance with regulations, no enforcement of r ules, lack of acceptance of PA and RPMK, lack of info and communication, lack of visitor control, lack of awareness and education, clandestine seafood sales, lack of action and continuity, lack of income alternatives, no waste management, no voicing of con cern, commercialization leads to exploitation, large PAs cause problems, no problems open ended What solutions to these problems would you identify? more control and patrolling, change veda, better communication and information, develop rules and regul ations, more info for tourists, stronger leadership in project, lobster diver cooperative, collect garbage, create seafood farm, visual actions, agriculture as income alternative, monetary incentives to counteract illegal open ended
85 fishing, no solutions In your opinion, what successes could you identify, if any, in the current marine resource management? PA, veda, kayak tourism, FUSPU and project, no success, no answer open ended In your opinion, what failures, if any, could you identify in the curren t marine resource management? visitor control, control of divers, communication, signs, PA, FUSPU and project, no failure, no answer open ended Section IV: Participation and Knowledge On a scale from 1 3, to what level do you participate in decision ma king processes? no participation, moderate participation, active participation Are you satisfied with your current level of participation? yes, no Do you know of rules and regulations concerning fishing? yes, no Do you know of rules and regulations c oncerning lobster diving? yes, no Do you know of rules and regulations concerning mangrove use? yes, no Do you know of rules and regulations concerning coral use? yes, no Do you know of rules and regulations concerning tourism? yes, no Do you know of rules and regulations concerning the Protected Area? yes, no In your opinion, to what extent to the people in general comply with the existing regulations? no compliance, partial compliance, full compliance
86 APPENDIX B CRITERIA FOR BASELIN E ASSESSME NT Population demographics Available data Missing data Population Gender Age Number of households Household size Education Language (how many speak Kuna and Spanish) Occupation Community infrastructure and business development Migration rate (only for Na rgana and Akuanusadup) Literacy Religion Household income Health status of the community Economic activities Available data Missing data Coastal and Marine Activities Goods and services Types of use Use patterns Value of goods and services Goods and ser vices market orientation Levels and types of impact Traditional systems Coconut harvest Economic significance Tourist profile Types of activities Details of visitation (numbers and types of tourists, lengths of visits, main Periods of visitation (daily, s easonally) Level of use by outsiders (lobster fishing by tourists) Complete tourism profile Tourism income and expenditure SocioCultural aspects Available data Missing data Gender roles Cultural heritage including spiritual belief systems Culturally se nsitive areas (including historical and archaeological sites) Complete spiritual belief system Governance Available data Missing data Community and stakeholder organizations Stakeholder participation All information on land ownership, land rights of loc al residents Enabling legislation Management plan (when ready) Informal tenure and rules, customs and traditions
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93 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Stefanie Hoehn was born in Recklinghausen, Germany and spent much of her free time traveling throughout Euro pe Latin America, and Africa In 2004, she graduated with a diploma d egree in applied g eography w ith a concentration in tourism g eography from the University of Trier, Germany. During and after completing her degree Stefanie served as Assistant Project M anager for the nongovernmental organization Ecological Tourism in Europe (ETE) for four years. There she was in charge of their projects on biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism development across Central and Eastern Europe, with special focus on implementing the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Her time working in this field inspired her to pursue a masters degree, and she began working toward her Master of Arts in 2006 in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Tropical Conservation and Development.