Marine Protected Area's - Expectations & Fees

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Gary_Ward

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A Question to all scuba divers & dive professionals regarding Marine Protected Areas. What level of fee per day are you comfortable with paying and what expectations do you have of the activity being carried out for the Marine Protected Area?

I have been asked to support a MPA fee / Reef Tax increase in my local area - which is not unreasonable - but I wanted to canvas a perspective on fees and expectations from other divers/dive pro's as I feel the team working on this may be operating in a vacuum. I would really love your feedback
 
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Gary_Ward

Gary_Ward

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Granted there is very little information or context given here - and that is deliberate. Most divers when they arrive at a location have very little information about a regions marine protections and pay their fees - but what I am trying to understand is what are your expectations (or perhaps hopes) that these fees will contribute towards within these protected areas.
 

Lorenzoid

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It depends how good the diving is. I believe Bonaire's fee is now 45 USD for an annual tag, which for divers who visit for one week a year equates to 7.50 per day. Bonaire diving is some of the best in the Caribbean, but that fee feels a bit high. Indonesia, on the other hand, could charge me more, so long as I felt they were doing a good job protecting what are becoming some of the last healthy reefs in the world.

Another thought is that Bonaire does a good job of educating divers about the marine park (MPA). I have paid MPA fees in other places where I never received any information about the MPA or how it was being protected; the fee was simply tacked on to a dive resort's or liveaboard's invoice and that was that. I suspect I am less inclined to object to an MPA fee when I am given information about the MPA and the organization charged with protecting it.
 

tursiops

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I don't mind an MPA fee, if it appears I am getting something for the payment. That is not always obvious, and not always the case.
Bonaire's $45/year is fine. The $50/year in Raja Ampat is fine, although there are numerous additional local fees that may be levied, to which I am less accepting.
Lots of places charge daily fees; I am less trusting that the money actually gets to the MPA.
Lots of research on this:
Financing Marine Protected Areas Through Visitor Fees: Insights from Tourists Willingness to Pay in Chile.
Examination of tourists' willingness to pay under different conservation scenarios; Evidence from reef manta ray snorkeling in Fiji - PubMed
Charging for nature: marine park fees and management from a user perspective - PubMed
The $4.50 now for a day in the Mexican MPA is OK, but one wonders how much of that gets to the NMP.
Etc.
In general, I prefer the annual charge. It is a one-time transaction and encourages a return trip.
Worst of all is a "per dive" fee. That is just silly.
 

Steelyeyes

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I think the mentioned fees are fine. It would be nice to see more enforcement of the regulations.

Enforcement is good for the local net fisherman and every net set gets visited multiple times a day. As far as hook and line fishing, or poaching conch, or maybe spearing the bigger parrotfish a few people get caught but that behavior is blown off as "just feeding their family". Education and outreach is the main thing that should be going on there.

Yesterday I saw my first Great Hammerhead at Red Slave. Sharks here are rare and hammerheads very much so, although lately they've been seen on Klein and up on some of the northern sites. If Bonaire could increase the chances divers would see sharks they could raise their fees and nobody would bat an eye. People aren't supposed to kill sharks but the attitude is that if it's hooked it will die (not true) and so they might as well eat it. Again, more education and outreach and maybe in 20 years something will change.
 

rick00001967

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zero.

imho the worst thing any location can do is "add on" extra fees.

if a gov wants to direct money to support conservation areas i think that is fantastic. but it should be taken from the over all tax base. if a minute tax increase is warranted to collect enough funds to do the work needed, then do it. i think it is better to be part of the total cost of the trip rather than an add on.

my only caution is that if an area needs to increase tourism to help their economy, the last thing you should consider is raising the costs for those tourists to come to your country.
 

living4experiences

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Tourists shouldn't have to pay for the problems of the local economy. If a dive destination has problems with overfishing, poaching, marine pollution, illegal dumping, etc (and most destinations do), then the local government needs to take care of the problem within their own tax system. If the MPA fees being collected now were effective, then the ocean would be fished out (at least where I've been diving).
 
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