Resource Users’ Perceptions on Continued Existence of the Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve, Kenya
Cosmas Nzaka Munga
Mohamed Omar Said Mohamed
David Obare Obura
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The Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve (MMP&R) in Kenya continues to attract increasing direct and indirect resource use due to its location near an urban area. Opinions on the continued existence of this Marine Protected Area (MPA) by fishermen, boat operators, kiosk operators, curio vendors and tourists varied in this study according to occupation, education level, awareness of government legislation on conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources, and place of birth. All fishermen (100%) were negative regarding the MMP&R’s continued existence but the majority of the other resource users were positive to a varying degree. Fishermen largely had the highest level of informal education (indigenous knowledge), mean age, duration of resource use and lowest income. While boat operators had the highest income, curio vendors and kiosk operators had higher levels of secondary education. Tourists had the highest level of college education. Chi-square tests indicated that 1) differences in educational levels of the resource user groups were significant; 2) resource user groups’ awareness of legislation on conservation and sustainable resource use differed significantly with education, with fishermen being most aware of the Fisheries Act and Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act; and 3) resource users’ perceptions on continued existence of the MMP&R differed significantly according to place of birth. Although MPAs are a useful management option, they should not be used in isolation. Involvement of local communities in the planning, design, establishment and management of MPAs should improve their success in the long term.