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Scaling territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) in Belize

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Belize recently committed to establishing territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs), called "managed access" in Belize, throughout its territorial waters. While more remains to be done to ensure that scaling is successful, this national commitment and the design of a national system of managed access areas are important milestones in the expansion of rights-based fishery management in Belize. Theoretical work and empirical studies have yielded principles for scaling conservation innovations, many of which were applied in Belize over 3 yrs to achieve these milestones. Two pilot sites were established in 2011 and encompassed varied ecological and social conditions to maximize learning applicable to scaling to diverse sites. Participatory processes were used to identify fishery management challenges as perceived by fishers, managers, and other stakeholders, and to build consensus on solutions. A scaling team consisting of fishers, scientists, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and government representatives with dedicated resources for scaling was formed. Our case study suggests that scaling principles derived from theoretical considerations and empirical analysis have contributed to the scaling of managed access in Belize, which is expected to result in significant conservation, social, and economic benefits. This in turn suggests that these principles may be relatively robust and perhaps can be applied elsewhere to scale conservation initiatives. Our case study also suggests that careful consideration of new information and changing conditions accompanied by appropriate decisions and changes in tactics and strategy are important for successful scaling.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Defense Fund, 123 Mission Street, 28th Floor, San Francisco, California 94105;, Email: [email protected] 2: Environmental Defense Fund,