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This article provides an overview of living marine resource governance in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) and discusses how this relates to ecosystem-based management at the geographical scale of the LME. It also provides an overview of the approach to governance reform that will be taken by the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem and Adjacent Areas Project. The geopolitical complexity of the Caribbean region is such that regional governance appears to be more challenging there than in most other regions. The proximity of states leads to a high incidence of transboundary issues regarding living marine resources. The high proportion of small island developing states (SIDS), defined at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development as countries facing specific social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities, and high incidence of coastal use for industry, tourism, fisheries, and urban development leads to heavy impacts on coastal and marine resources. Regarding institutional arrangements, there are many organizations at regional and subregional levels already engaged in most aspects of marine resource management, sometimes in collaboration, sometimes in competition, and often in relative isolation. Likewise, at national and local levels there is a host of government and nongovernmental organizations with diverse aspirations and perspectives. The challenge then is to develop a regional approach that recognizes the existence of this diversity and works with it. The development of the Caribbean LME and Adjacent Areas Project has forced regional partners to reflect on the Caribbean living marine resource governance situation. It has led to the formulation and adoption of the LME Governance Framework. This framework, which departs somewhat from the conventional LME approach, appears to have the potential to meet the aforementioned challenge. It defines the relative roles of scientists, decision makers, and implementers at various levels and provides a basis for incremental implementation of improvements in governance.
Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 2:
Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Cave Hill, Barbados