Financing marine protected areas in Jamaica: An exploratory study Research Paper
The establishment of marine protected areas (MPA) has been a common government response to increasing fishing, tourism and other human activities that lead to decline in coral and marine resources. MPAs often suffer inadequacy of funds and simply become “paper parks”. This study makes a case for the feasibility of a self-financing mechanism for MPAs by estimating potential surplus benefit that recreational users may gain from MPAs in Jamaica. These same recreational users in turn, might be willing to pay a small portion of that gain toward the management costs. With the help of a travel cost model and the visitors’ willingness to pay (WTP) estimates, we show that the management costs of the park amount to a negligible amount; less than 0.1% of the annual total WTP. Furthermore, using these WTP estimates and the findings from other stakeholders’ surveys (hotels, tour operators, etc.), the paper provides insights on user-supported funding policies, such as taxes and fees, which might sustain the operations of MPAs in Jamaica and the broader Caribbean region.
Area of Interest: Jamaica