Incorporating Participatory Approaches into the Management of Musquash Estuary Marine Protected Area
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Participatory approaches to marine protected area (MPA) management have the potential to offset management costs while promoting a sense of stewardship among communities. This study investigated the enhancement of participatory approaches in the management of Musquash Estuary MPA, including community surveillance and citizen monitoring. A survey was conducted with local residents to investigate the effectiveness of the “Musquash Watch” program, in which community members are encouraged to report observed violations to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The results of this survey indicate that the program has not been very effective. However, there is potential to promote self-enforcement through social norms and peer pressure, provided that efforts are made to promote widespread knowledge of the MPA regulations and their underlying rationale. To investigate the potential and guide the development of citizen monitoring for Musquash Estuary MPA, interviews were conducted with the managers of other MPA citizen monitoring programs, protocols were assessed for their feasibility and potential contribution to Musquash Estuary monitoring efforts, and a survey was conducted with a pool of local volunteers. The findings of this study indicate that citizen monitoring efforts could be effectively developed and enhanced for Musquash Estuary provided that a source of long-term funding is available, and partnerships are formed with local environmental organizations. Recommendations include the implementation of the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP) protocol at Musquash Estuary MPA, promoting the continuation and enhancement of current citizen bird surveys, and increasing the frequency of an annual citizen monitoring paddle in the estuary.