• Description

The main objective of this assessment is to design a cost effective control and vigilance system for the newly created Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve (TAMR). The specific objectives are: 1. Develop a practical control and vigilance system for the TAMR based on interviews of local enforcement actors, analysis of existing co-management strategies, and a comprehensive site visit of the Turneffe Atoll. 2. Prioritize a series of recommendations to optimize patrol costs as well as increase detection efficacy using Electronic Monitoring Systems (EMS). The final recommendations will include the surveillance system design including potential electronic systems, patrol vessels, human resource requirements, energy supply needs, and overall cost estimate: Capital Expenses (CAPEX) and Operating Expenses (OPEX) for a five-year investment plan.

WildAid focuses on the law enforcement chain, that encompasses the activities of detection, interdiction, prosecution, and the fining of lawbreakers. An effective law enforcement system should dissuade potential lawbreakers from committing illegal activities as the consequences/risks associated with apprehension outweigh economic gain. The law enforcement chain requires that each link function effectively and complementarily. Also critical, yet not part of the enforcement chain, is the vital role that outreach and stakeholder education plays in MPA acceptance and compliance. For the purpose of this project, the primary focus will be on the surveillance, interdiction, and systematic training components. It is worth noting that Belize possesses a very unique regulatory framework that: 1) empowers Fishery officials with arrest authority and the right to bear firearms; 2) allows the Fisheries Department to delegate arrest authority to partner organizations including NGOs for the enforcement of MPAs; and 3) the Fisheries Department can directly litigate in a Belizean court of law. This is advantageous as the overall enforcement process from detection to sentencing is streamlined and enforcement officials are empowered with sufficient authority to apply the law.