P2P II Enforcement

Peer-to-Peer Workshop II: 
Building Compliance and Enhancing Enforcement 
for Marine Protected Areas in the Caribbean

Date: August 28-31, 2012

Location: Eco-Discovery Center, Key West, Florida

In the MPA Management Capacity Assessment, MPA Managers were asked to rank their current management capacity in relation enforcement according to the following tiers:

Tier 1

Few or no established rules and regulations exist or there is little or no enforcement of existing rules and regulations

Tier 2

Inconsistent enforcement of rules and regulations

Tier 3

Active and consistent enforcement of rules and regulations

The results showed that only 4% of MPAs that participated in the Capacity Assessment ranked themselves in the highest tier in relation to MPA enforcement, with by far the majority (85% of participating sites) ranking themselves in the second tier ‘inconsistent enforcement of rules and regulations’.

For the group of 27 participating sites as a whole, the enforcement of MPA rules and regulations ranked as one of the top priority capacity building needs. The sites that ranked enforcement as one of their top three capacity building need were the following:


MPA Site

Priority of Enforcement

Key Issues


Moliniere-Beausejour MPA


Rules and regulations;

procedural training

St Lucia

Soufriere Marine Managed Area


Rules and regulations; enforcement planning; procedural training


South Berry Islands Marine Reserve


Build citizen watch groups and optimize role of volunteers

Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park


Build citizen watch groups and optimize role of volunteers


Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes


Build inter-institutional partnerships

Parque Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc


Build inter-institutional partnerships


South Water Caye Marine Reserve


Size of MPA limits patrols

British Virgin Islands

Horseshoe Reef Fisheries Protected Area


Size of MPA limits patrols; lack of resources; build partnerships

Hans Creek Fisheries Protected Area


Size of MPA limits patrols; lack of resources; build partnerships

Wreck of the Rhone Marine Park


Procedural training

This peer-to-peer workshop on MPA enforcement is tailored to help address the needs that have been expressed by the sites that identified enforcement as a top priority capacity building need.

The nature of MPA infractions

Most of the participating MPAs face common compliance issues. Several of you told us that these are especially related to illegal fishing in no-take zones by perpetrators who are, for the most part, fully aware of the MPA rules and regulations. There are also violations of ecosystem protection measures, such as anchoring where not permitted, disregard for speed limits, recreational activities in zones where not permitted, and pollution, both caused by MPA users and land-based sources such as coastal development. Concerns about the personal security of MPA staff and threats to staff and infrastructure are also faced by several MPAs.

There are many aspects of MPA enforcement

By the term ‘enforcement’ we refer to the range of actions that can be taken in order to promote compliance with MPA rules and regulations for fisheries management and conservation goals. Possible enforcement actions that can be taken at an MPA might include:

1. All aspects of an enforcement presence associated with the MPA for deterrence or detection, ie. surveillance, intelligence gathering, strategically-planned patrols, partnerships with relevant organizations (eg. coast guard, police, military) and community alert networks, as permitted by the realities of the MPA and the nature of its management, such as size, remoteness, security, and levels of funding, staffing and infrastructure;

2. The responses made to infringements of rules and regulations, such as standard operating procedures for interception, search/inspection and arrest, evidence gathering and case preparation, in order to bring about prosecutions and apply sanctions, the approaches to which vary depending on the legal framework for enforcement;

3. Complementary outreach, education and communication efforts. These might seek to encourage early and continued involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders in MPA decision-making, so as to build voluntary compliance with MPA rules and regulations and self-enforcement by particular stakeholder groups. They might also seek to build public support for enforcement of MPA regulations, so as to achieve maximum compliance with least force and fewest resources, for example via community-oriented policing and interpretive enforcement, as appropriate to each MPA’s set of stakeholders. Actions to generate greater political will for MPA enforcement also fall in this category.

The Caribbean’s first regional learning activity on management capacity for MPA enforcement

Ensuring compliance with rules and regulations is a core activity for MPA managers and their staff. Indeed, enforcement activities, the staff and infrastructure they depend upon are often the most costly element of an MPA manager’s budget. As you made clear in the MPA Management Capacity Assessment, the financial and operational realities faced by MPA managers are placing serious limitations on the scope for successful, active and consistent enforcement in the region’s MPAs.

Worldwide, only a handful of training courses focus on MPA enforcement. These typically address a sub-set of enforcement actions, such as surveillance protocols, investigations and marine forensics, or standard operating procedures as relevant to enforcement officers working within a particular legal framework. There are some opportunities for professional development, such as conferences, which tend to take a broader look at the themes in MPA enforcement. But there is no practical, focused course for our region that addresses the need for capacity to manage MPA compliance and enforcement. 

Expert advice and peer critique of real-life enforcement options

Recognizing the difficult realities that MPAs face, this workshop is an entirely new take on enforcement training. It will be active, applied and pragmatic, with content, materials and activities specifically tailored to the real-life needs of the participating MPAs. The workshop will provide practical tools to build more active and consistent enforcement of rules and regulations in the participating MPAs. It will present enforcement approaches and case studies, and use table-top exercises and field practice to demonstrate relevant enforcement actions and to develop approaches that can be applied in each MPA to build compliance.

There is no single formula for MPA enforcement, and especially no single formula that can ever fit the diversity of MPA management structures and unique local settings that are represented in the Caribbean region. Accordingly, constructive peer critique of different enforcement approaches will help determine potential ways forward for the participating MPAs. It will be an active workshop with field activities, individual and group exercises, and expert input for the assessment of approaches and case studies with a view to taking new and concrete steps in the participating MPAs. The workshop will equip you to manage a range of compliance and enforcement efforts, as both feasible and desirable for your local setting. It will also equip you with knowledge to best lead your enforcement staff and to collaborate with other agencies that lend support in MPA enforcement.

Take-home portfolio of management tools

Participants will each take away a portfolio of concrete, individual outputs that apply different management tools to enforcement in their MPAs. Prepared especially for this group of participating MPAs, the portfolio will bring together the results of their efforts in the workshop, adapted and ready for implementation in their MPAs – we will document compliance goals and the appropriate model for enforcement at each MPA, we will provide sample formats for logbooks, plans and databases, examples of standard operating procedures, hand-out materials on various topics, and we will help the participants to assess the feasibility of particular management tools for follow-up activities.

CaMPAM and its partners anticipate providing future support to the participating sites in applying management tools for enforcement at their sites, so we have a vested interest in producing tangible outputs and clear action steps from the workshop.

What a regional workshop can’t do

A regional learning activity provides an amazing opportunity for sharing best practices and networking, plus a site visit to a new MPA. But in bringing together participants from ten different countries and territories we also have to be realistic about the scope of what we can cover. So it’s important to mention that the content and activities in the workshop will be independent of the legal framework that applies to the participating countries. This means that while we might look at case studies where MPA rules and regulations have been reviewed by legal experts, in such a diverse group we can’t evaluate the legislation that applies to your MPA.

The content of the workshop will be independent of the differing enforceability of your existing MPA rules and regulations, the varying powers of MPA staff, and the severity of sanctions that are currently in place. You will, however, take these factors into account in your assessment of management tools. Similarly, stakeholder perception of the legitimacy of your MPA, its regulations and management will be important factors for you to input during the workshop activities. We will ask you to come prepared to input these and other relevant factors in the course of the workshop.

Target Group

MPA Managers

Head Rangers/Wardens