Marine Zoning in Saint Kitts and Nevis: A Path Towards Sustainable Management of Marine Resources
This project conducted an initial marine spatial planning process and developed a draft marine zoning design to address resource management challenges in the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean. The project did not focus narrowly on conservation, fisheries, or another individual sector but instead took a multi-objective, integrated approach. The goal was to advance holistic management to address resource declines, socioeconomic concerns, and conflicts among ocean uses. The project carried out five primary activities to build a foundation for future implementation of marine zoning:
- engaging stakeholders
- developing a common vision for resource management
- creating a database of ecological and socioeconomic data for multi-objective decision making
- developing decision support tools
- producing a draft zoning design for marine waters to a depth of 30 meters around the islands
The draft design and the project as a whole were intended as steps toward comprehensive marine zoning that may occur in the future. The project was also envisioned as a learning opportunity to develop approaches and tools that could be applied elsewhere. This case study is adapted from the project report.
Multi-objective Planning Focus
Developing a practical approach to multi-objective planning was a major goal of the project. Marine zoning is widely considered to be a framework for reducing conflicts among the many uses of the ocean and for ensuring sustainability of ecosystem services.
All aspects of this project from stakeholder engagement and data collection to development of decision-support tools were designed to facilitate multi-objective planning. The project considered a wide range of ecological and socioeconomic factors and dozens of ocean uses encompassing fisheries, recreation, tourism, and cultural heritage. The draft zoning design (see thumbnail image) was intended as an example of a potential multi-objective management solution.
The St. Kitts and Nevis marine zoning project had two primary guiding principles:
- rely on the best available science for making decisions
- engage stakeholders at all possible levels