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Unpublished Paper
Protecting Marine Biodiversity in Latin America Through Area-Based Fisheries Regulation
ExpressO (2015)
  • Xiao Recio-Blanco, Duke University

Governments all around the world have addressed the challenge of marine resources management enacting laws and enforcing public policies. To date, most of these initiatives have failed. In Latin America, sophisticated environmental protection statutes are already in place. Unfortunately, these statutes are largely overlooked by sea users and government officials. Lack of compliance has become the most significant hurdle to the sustainable use of Latin America’s marine resources.

Recently, governments and Non-Governmental Organizations in Latin America have showed increased interest in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). MSP is a process that analyzes the spatial distribution of human activities at sea. The MSP process generally results in a zoning map, by which the marine area assessed is divided into regions. The map shows what uses should be authorized in each region of the seas.

Although MSP helps regulators and managing agencies to understand the marine environment better, it is not specifically tailored to ensure compliance. Moreover, the few previous experiences with MSP in Latin America have not contributed significantly to solve the complexities of marine management.

This paper argues that, to ensure compliance, spatial distribution of marine uses through MSP needs the support of two policy instruments: property rights and self-regulation. Although both instruments are well-known in ocean resources management, they still have not been used in combination with spatial management on large-scale.

This idea is supported by two successful examples of small-scale fisheries management in Mexico.

  • Latin America,
  • marine spatial planning,
  • MSP,
  • ocean zoning,
  • area-based management,
  • fisheries,
  • fishing,
  • small-scale fishing,
  • artisanal fishing
Publication Date
February 16, 2015
Citation Information
Xiao Recio-Blanco. "Protecting Marine Biodiversity in Latin America Through Area-Based Fisheries Regulation" ExpressO (2015)
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