In this paper, we draw attention to the role of synergies in marine conservation and community sustainability. Using marine protected areas (MPAs) as examples, we argue that MPAs that are carefully designed to fit the existing social systems can be instrumental in synergy building and fostering community development. Such synergy creation is an essential governance strategy that helps enhance governability as it reduces conflicts and provides opportunities for constructive cooperation among stakeholders, especially in times of crisis. We illustrate this using the case of La Restinga MPA in the Canary Islands. Based on data and experiences from long-term research programs on coastal communities in the Canary Islands in general, and La Restinga in particular, we discuss the functions of the MPA in the local contexts and describe how the MPA has transformed relationships and interactions among stakeholders, leading to different levels of synergies. While some of the interactions have not been conducive to the implementation of the MPA, strong synergies have been created, especially after the volcano eruption. The story of La Restinga offers valuable lessons about the way the community copes and responds to change, and the role that synergies play in the process.
Maritime Studies – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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