Overview and potential implementation of a marine protected area network between Colombia, Nicaragua, and Jamaica

Luisa Lopera, Paula A. Zapata-Ramírez, Yuley Cardona

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The United Nations recommends increasing protected area coverage to 30% by 2030 through representative and effective networks of marine protected areas (MPAn). According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the number of MPAs increased rapidly from 0.67% in 2000–7.4% by the end of 2018. Yet only around 5.9% of the world's coral reef area is included within MPAs and the implementation of MPA networks in areas beyond national jurisdiction remains limited. Here we report results on the evaluation of the ecological criteria suggested by the IUCN for the potential implementation of a MPAn between Nicaragua, Jamaica, and Colombia on the southwestern side of the Caribbean Sea. We have reviewed the different legislative structures for protection in place and the international and regional agreements endorsed by Colombia, Nicaragua, and Jamaica in force in 2020, together with biophysical connectivity studies in the Caribbean basin. Results indicate that the three countries: (i) have similar ecosystems open to protection, (ii) have already developed different governance instruments to protect them, (iii) there is a coherence between permitted and prohibited activities that provides strong governance related support for the potential MPA network for all zoning categories and iv) have the legislation and common ground to lead a successful implementation. The study concludes that the establishment of an MPA network in the southwestern part of the Caribbean will be advantageous for the protection of other marine ecosystems in the basin, addressing transboundary issues by focusing on connectivity and the already established MPA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number105411
    JournalMarine Policy
    StatePublished - Apr 2023

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This research was partially supported by a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship awarded to P Zapata-Ramirez ( IAPP18–1910 )

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2023


    • Caribbean sea
    • MPA network
    • SeaFlower reserve


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