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General revenue mechanisms

Chapters on trust funds, tourist fees, fiscal instruments, foundations, bioprospecting, and biodiversity enterprise funds can also be found in this Guide to help in considering general revenue mechanisms. In general, the trust funds, foundations and biodiversity enterprise funds chapters apply equally to terrestrial and marine protected areas. Fiscal instruments differ somewhat due to different property rights systems for the oceans. You will find examples where these have been applied to marine protection in the chapters on fiscal instruments and resource extraction fees.



For bioprospecting, the marine environment presents a new frontier, particularly with regard to coral reef ecosystems. The returns are unlikely to be immediate. Nevertheless, it is important for opportunities to be sought and appropriate agreements to be made ensuring that part of the profits are reinvested in local communities and protection. Protection of marine resources is just as important for the pharmaceutical industry and research institutes, which rely on pristine marine ecosystems for new discoveries. Examples where benefit-sharing agreements have been made between research institutions and host countries (including local communities) for marine resources can be found in the chapter on bioprospecting.


Tourist user fees

For marine protected areas, tourist fees can present a challenge in terms of collection and enforcement, particularly if there is no specific activity to collect fees for. Bunaken National Park (BNP) is a good case study showing how a user fee was introduced and enforced through dive operators, hotels and park facilities. BNP took lessons from Bonaire National Park's dive fee (see Bonaire case study at the end of the Tourism User Fees chapter) and implemented them in accordance with the political, economic and social conditions in Northern Sulawesi. A variety of different fees can be charged to tourists and tourist companies, including uses of particular resources (dive, boating, etc.), fees for operating concessions on the premises of the park and fees for research and media.


Biodiversity enterprise funds

Biodiversity enterprise funds (BEFs) present an innovative and relatively new source of funding for protected areas, along the lines of social venture capital. The Funds invest in private-sector businesses that promise to provide a return on the investment (albeit a low return) and a positive impact on conservation. For MPAs, private-sector concessions are the most likely candidates for these investments, although they also present challenges in terms of being able to provide a return on the investment, a profit and an adequate investment back into the management of the protected areas. To date, the only privately run MPA which shows promise is the Chumbe Coral Reef Park (CHICOP) in Zanzibar (see the full case study in the annex to this chapter). However, CHICOP received much of its initial financing from a private investor rather than a BEF.

Additionally, BEF investments can be made in businesses that support the triple bottom line (conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity, equitable sharing of biodiversity benefits), operating in and around MPAs (see also section 3.4.2 on livelihood

business opportunities)


Cost-Efficiency Options

The goal of protected area managers should be to spend less and achieve more. This includes: (i) balancing budgets and eliminating non-essential expenditure; (ii) as well as sharing the costs and benefits of management with local stakeholders; (iii) putting in place incentives mechanisms for industry and local communities to reduce over-use and encourage protection; (iv) involving stakeholders in the direct management of the area through co-management with local communities, the private sector, NGOs and/or government; (v) encouraging these groups to invest in and manage some of the costs; (vi) making use of volunteers; and (vii) promoting biodiversity enterprise. This may also include compensating resource users for not exploiting the resource - in the long term this can be a more cost-efficient option than regulation and enforcement or rehabilitation.


Incentive mechanisms

Although command and control mechanisms are often necessary in a protected area, positive incentive mechanisms, such as licenses and new markets, are more efficient ways to move resource users to more sustainable use of the resource. People are far more likely to conserve a resource if it is profitable for them to do so or if they directly bear the costs of degrading the environment. Incentive mechanisms should encourage positive reinforcement - in the case of MPAs, they should entice stakeholders (government, business, NGOs, local communities) to conserve marine ecosystems. Such mechanisms can be in the form of economic instruments (see Case 3.4) or property rights, giving individuals or groups a sense of ownership over a resource - or clear responsibility for the exploitation of the resource itself. Property rights are one way of enabling stakeholders to directly bear the costs, as well as receive the benefits associated with the exploitation of the resource.


Livelihood/business opportunities

Alternative livelihood opportunities arising out of MPAs can be attractive to local communities and business. For instance, in the Caribbean, experienced fishers are moving into the sport fishing industry for much greater profits than from overfished fisheries. Boat owners are operating water taxis on a part-time basis, and water taxi associations are being formed to maximize benefits to individuals (see Case 3.3 for more detail). These types of opportunities must involve sustainable use in order for them to contribute to the sustainability of the protected area. In turn, these business ventures must be dependent on a healthy environment in order for them to see the incentive of maintaining the MPA. For example, eco-tourism enterprise revenues depend on a certain quality of the environment where they operate.



Licenses that establish a form of property rights and encourage sustainable use, rather than only serving to collect revenue, act as incentive mechanisms. The longer the term of the license, the more likely the user will have a long-term interest in the area and therefore an incentive to use the resources sustainably. Such instruments are particularly useful for outer lying areas, where it is more difficult for the government to enforce protection (see Cases 3.6 and 3.7 for examples).


Cost-sharing/ co-management

Cost-sharing mechanisms can range from sharing specific management responsibilities (i.e. communities involved in monitoring and enforcement activities and dive operators maintaining mooring buoys) to commercially viable partnerships with the private sector, local communities and NGOs (see case 3.1).

In the case of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Protected Area, the private sector has become informally and indirectly involved in the management of the area. Tour operators and other stakeholders currently play a variety of roles in the management of the park. Some examples include: resorts providing rangers, commercial fishers paying for dedicated access to moorings, dive operators trained to give evidence of non-compliant fishers, and involving Aboriginal islanders in the management of the reef (community-based rangers and managers of hunting permits).

In the US, a diversity of partnerships helps managers of many wildlife refuges to stretch their budget without having to seek further funding. For instance, they team up with state-level agencies for wildlife management and law enforcement and NGOs for management and research.

Volunteers are also a critical component to achieving management goals in MPAs. In addition to performing their duties at the site, volunteers often serve an important role in the community, becoming ambassadors for the MPA.

See Cases 3.2 and 3.3 for further examples of co-management.


New Innovative Options being Tested


Compensation payments

In some instances, compensation payments may be necessary to entice resource users over to new practices. For example, in Soufriere Marine Park it was necessary to compensate fishers for a limited period of time for their losses. These 'positive subsidies' enabled the fishers to sustain their income during the period of fishery replenishment. Compensation payments can also enable the user to move over to alternative livelihood options. Often the opportunity costs for not destroying the resources are relatively low, and compensation schemes or employment schemes are cheap investments for changing people's behaviors in favor of protecting the area.


Charging for the quality of the dive

At some sites, managers are considering the option of charging divers according to the quality of the site. Experienced divers quickly notice a difference and are always keen to improve the quality of their experience; however, whether they would be willing to pay more is yet to be researched. In areas where artificial reef systems are being installed to rehabilitate reefs, managers are also considering whether they can raise additional funds to finance these projects by taking divers for an educational experience to a rehabilitation site for an additional charge.

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