Basic Institutional Arrangements Required to Preserve Life in the Ocean
Science Director, Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C., Mexico
As a Mexican marine biologist with a PhD in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management, Dr. Sáenz-Arroyo employs a long-term historical perspective in seeking to understand the role played by humans as intelligent predators in the planet’s ecosystems. She is fascinated by how modern humans perceive environmental impacts and how some sophisticated, but inappropriate, scientific paradigms have prevented society from committing resources to nature conservation. In 2000 she joined Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C., a Mexican nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging marine conservation through participatory approaches. In her talk, Andrea discusses that although marine protected areas (MPAs) have proven to be a powerful tool to recover species, few have shown economic benefits for their users, especially poor people with limited alternative livelihoods. She describes how the global community remains frustrated by the slow speed at which MPAs are created and their lack of effectiveness in protecting large, vulnerable species, such as sharks and turtles. Dr. Sáenz-Arroyo presents a simple solution in which local agents are able to make financial transactions with global agents to preserve intangible goods and services, which are mostly appreciated by the global community. The solution is illustrated by two case studies, one in the Baja California kelp forest in Mexico and the other in the District of Kubalau, on the Island of Vanua Levu, Fiji.