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Koh Chang MPA: Research to Aid in Zoning and Management. Philip Dearden, Karen Topelko Marine Protected Areas Research Group, University of Victoria, Canada.

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Presentation on theme: "Koh Chang MPA: Research to Aid in Zoning and Management. Philip Dearden, Karen Topelko Marine Protected Areas Research Group, University of Victoria, Canada."— Presentation transcript:

1 Koh Chang MPA: Research to Aid in Zoning and Management. Philip Dearden, Karen Topelko Marine Protected Areas Research Group, University of Victoria, Canada

2 Zoning –Demarcates sub-areas/activities/regulations No-take zones No-take zones Fisheries zones Fisheries zones Recreational zones, activities and Recreational zones, activities andintensity

3 Study Site: Ko Chang Marine National Park (MNP) Popular tourist destination, located ~300km east of Bangkok Designated as a protected area in 1982 Covers 650km² Managed by Marine Parks Division of the Department of Wildlife and Plant Conservation All officially no-take Park management objectives: (1) protect forests and natural resources, (2) promote recreation and tourism, (3) encourage research and education Enforcement problematic

4 Project Goal & Objectives To evaluate resident fishers’ reliance on fishing grounds within Ko Chang marine park.  To determine residents’ dependence on fishing as a primary source of income.  To calculate total catch and effort of local residents.  To map the locations of fishers’ key fishing grounds within the park. Lunn, K.E., and Dearden, P. (2006). Fisher’s needs in marine protected area zoning. Coastal Management, 34 (2), Lunn, K.E., and Dearden, P. (2006). Monitoring small-scale marine fisheries: An example from the Ko Chang archipelago, Thailand. Fisheries Research, 77, 60-71

5 Key Findings  25-30% of households on Ko Chang relied on fishing as main source of year-round income  Fisheries-dependent villages located primarily in southern portion of park Objective 1: Residents’ dependence on fishing as primary income source

6 Small-scale fisheries focused on invertebrates Small-scale fisheries focused on invertebrates Small-scale fishers used non- destructive gear Small-scale fishers used non- destructive gear Resident fishers made an estimated 35,000 trips/year Resident fishers made an estimated 35,000 trips/year Landed an estimated 375,000 kg in Landed an estimated 375,000 kg in Objective 2: Small- scale fishers’ catch and effort

7 Objective 3: Identify locations of fishing grounds 95% of marine area in Ko Chang MNP is reportedly fished Found as much as 52% concordance among fishers’ maps Greatest concordance on west and south coasts of Ko Chang

8 Implications for Management Issues in park management: No community involvement in park planning or implementation No community involvement in park planning or implementation Misconception that small-scale fisheries can not lead to the over-exploitation of resources Misconception that small-scale fisheries can not lead to the over-exploitation of resources Inappropriate division of management responsibilities Inappropriate division of management responsibilities

9 Recreational Zoning Tour operators use low- speed vessels capable of carrying passengers per trip. Tour operators use low- speed vessels capable of carrying passengers per trip. It takes about 1 ½ hour to reach first snorkeling site. It takes about 1 ½ hour to reach first snorkeling site. Visitors are taken to 3-4 different sites where they snorkel for ~45 minutes. Visitors are taken to 3-4 different sites where they snorkel for ~45 minutes. Fringing reefs with water depths that range from 2-15 metres. Fringing reefs with water depths that range from 2-15 metres.

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11 Vulnerability of Coral Communities to Trampling Water Depth (for snorkelling) Water Depth (for snorkelling) Coral Community Composition Coral Community Composition BRANCHING CORALS MASSIVE, SUBMASSIVE, FOLIOSE, TABLE & MUSHROOM CORALS SOFT CORALS ENCRUSTING CORALS INCREASING VULNERABILITY TO TRAMPLING IMPACTS

12 MPA Zoning for Conservation: Other Ecological Considerations Habitat complexity & diversity Habitat complexity & diversity Size of core conservation zones Size of core conservation zones Suitability for restoring Suitability for restoring branching staghorn corals (Acropora spp.) (Acropora spp.)

13 Visitor Survey: Summary of Social & Economic Considerations for MPA Zoning –Main Goals: Satisfied visitors Satisfied visitors Long-term economic viability of tourism Long-term economic viability of tourism Alternative livelihoods for coastal fishers Alternative livelihoods for coastal fishers

14 VISITOR SURVEY: RESULTS & IMPLICATIONS: OVERALL SATISFACTION 48% ‘somewhat satisfied’ 21% ‘very satisfied’ 13% ‘neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’ 6% ‘somewhat unsatisfied’ 2% ‘very unsatisfied’ Much room for improvement Ideally, experiences should exceed expectations

15 Top Problem Conditions (Q4) & Management Recommendations #1: Dead/unhealthy coral #1: Dead/unhealthy coral –Redirect visitors to Tourism Zones (these are aesthetically pleasing AND resilient) –Restore degraded corals #2 & #3: Garbage on beaches & in the ocean #2 & #3: Garbage on beaches & in the ocean –Clean up campaigns –Improve waste collection & disposal –Information campaigns #4: Fishing gear on the seafloor #4: Fishing gear on the seafloor –Separate tourism & fishing through zoning #5: Tour staff did not provide info. #5: Tour staff did not provide info. –Better tour guide services #6: Too many other snorkellers #6: Too many other snorkellers –Zone some reefs for low use (Ecotourism Zones)

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17 VISITOR SURVEY FIELD RESEARCH: ‘LAC’ SCOPING Compared visitor responses to measured conditions  Suggested LAC standards for coral conditions:  CMI<0.40 (dead coral cover less than 40%)  Area of dead patches<25 m 2  No support in favour of different LAC standards in different zones  Suggested LAC Standards For # of People:  <30 people in Ecotourism Zones (particularly important for reducing crowding of foreign tourists)  <3 boats, and only small boats, in Ecotourism Zones  No LAC standard required for Tourism Zones Roman, G., Dearden, P., and Rollins, R Multiple-use zoning and tourism in Marine Protected Areas: A case study of Mu Koh Chang National Marine Park, Thailand. Environmental Management. 39:

18 Planning the Seascape: Application of the ROS framework to maximize visitor satisfaction in Koh Chang Marine National Park, Thailand Karen Topelko, Phil Dearden, Rick Rollins MPARG, University of Victoria Victoria, BC Canada

19 Objectives 1. To identify elements of the visitor experience that contribute to satisfaction. 2. To examine the influence of visitor characteristics on satisfaction. 3. To make recommendations towards improving the visitor experience, managing negative impacts.

20 Conceptual Framework - ROS Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) is a planning and management tool for inventorying and describing recreational opportunities in a variety of settings. Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) is a planning and management tool for inventorying and describing recreational opportunities in a variety of settings. Settings are a function of physical (infrastructure, weather), natural (corals, fish), social (encounters with others), and managerial conditions (services, rules/regulations). Settings are a function of physical (infrastructure, weather), natural (corals, fish), social (encounters with others), and managerial conditions (services, rules/regulations). Different opportunity settings give recreationists many options from which to choose. Different opportunity settings give recreationists many options from which to choose.

21 Conceptual Framework - ROS Implementation of ROS requires the following: Implementation of ROS requires the following:  an understanding of the influence of setting characteristics on visitor experiences,  an understanding of the relationships between activities and impacts,  an understanding of visitor expectations, and  management plans that reflect and preserve a range of opportunities. ROS provides for sensitive areas to be identified and protected, and other areas more capable of withstanding heavier levels of use to be used for more intense forms of recreation. ROS provides for sensitive areas to be identified and protected, and other areas more capable of withstanding heavier levels of use to be used for more intense forms of recreation.

22 Data Collection Data collected February-April, 2005 using 3 methods: Personal observations Personal observations Informal interviews Informal interviews Structured questionnaires Structured questionnaires  Tour Operator Survey (n=8, 88% response rate) Capacity, trip characteristics, perceptions of quality of environment/impact of activities, support for management Capacity, trip characteristics, perceptions of quality of environment/impact of activities, support for management  Visitor Survey (n=716, 90% + response rate) Demographics, satisfactions, knowledge of reefs, crowding, encounter norms, perceptions of impact Demographics, satisfactions, knowledge of reefs, crowding, encounter norms, perceptions of impact

23 Findings: The Setting Little variation between snorkeling settings with respect to managerial, physical, and social conditions. Little variation between snorkeling settings with respect to managerial, physical, and social conditions.  There were few rules in place to manage operators or visitors, and existing regulations were poorly enforced. As a result, impacts of use on biological and social values were not managed.  Visitors received very little instructive or interpretive information, particularly foreigners. Few boats had English-speaking staff on board, and interpretive materials (brochures, posters, maps, etc.) were generally unavailable.

24 Findings: The Setting, cont’d  Similar comforts and conveniences were provided on board all boats observed. Snorkeling equipment was provided, as were washroom facilities, food and drinks.  Use levels oscillated between low, moderate, and high, but inter-party contacts were frequent and often unavoidable.  Physical characteristics of snorkeling sites served to concentrate use in small areas. Opportunities to experience isolation were uncertain and unpredictable.  Behaviours that can have negative impacts on the quality of the reef were regularly observed, including anchoring on top of coral, littering, touching/kicking corals, fishing, handling marine life, and fish feeding.

25 Findings: The Snorkelers The characteristics of the snorkelers in Koh Chang were similar to other reef visitors. The characteristics of the snorkelers in Koh Chang were similar to other reef visitors.  Young, highly educated, prior reef experience. However, visitors with different cultural backgrounds had significantly different participation characteristics. However, visitors with different cultural backgrounds had significantly different participation characteristics.  Thai visitors were less familiar with snorkeling, marine environments, and coral reefs, and they invested less money in the activity and the setting.

26 Findings: Satisfaction THAI snorkelers were more satisfied with:  Number of other snorkelers  Number of boats  Information provided by boat crew  Commitment to the environment by boat crew  Safety procedures on board the boat  Opportunity to learn about coral reefs NON-THAI snorkelers were more satisfied with:  Warm weather  Easy snorkeling conditions  Attractive above-water scenery  Length of snorkeling trip  Cost of the snorkeling trip

27 Findings: Crowding Perceptions Satisfaction with the social setting was also measured using crowding perceptions. Crowding was measured using the 9-point scale developed by Heberlein & Vaske (1977). Satisfaction with the social setting was also measured using crowding perceptions. Crowding was measured using the 9-point scale developed by Heberlein & Vaske (1977). The scale ranges from “not at all crowded” to “extremely crowded”. The scale ranges from “not at all crowded” to “extremely crowded”.

28 Findings: Crowding Perceptions Thai and Non-Thai snorkelers evaluated crowding very differently. Non-Thai snorkelers reported feeling more crowded than Thai snorkelers, with 29% of Non-Thai visitors feeling “extremely crowded” compared with 10% of Thai visitors. Thai and Non-Thai snorkelers evaluated crowding very differently. Non-Thai snorkelers reported feeling more crowded than Thai snorkelers, with 29% of Non-Thai visitors feeling “extremely crowded” compared with 10% of Thai visitors. Mean crowding scores were significantly higher for foreign visitors (Mean=6.1, SD=2.1) than for domestic visitors (Mean=5.1, SD=2.0) (t=-5.957, df=685, p=.000). Mean crowding scores were significantly higher for foreign visitors (Mean=6.1, SD=2.1) than for domestic visitors (Mean=5.1, SD=2.0) (t=-5.957, df=685, p=.000). Results demonstrate that attitudes about levels of use are subject to cultural differences, and support other studies that suggest that Asians can tolerate or adapt to higher levels of encounters better than others (Anderson, 1972; Gillis et al., 1986; Hall, 1966; Homma, 1990). Results demonstrate that attitudes about levels of use are subject to cultural differences, and support other studies that suggest that Asians can tolerate or adapt to higher levels of encounters better than others (Anderson, 1972; Gillis et al., 1986; Hall, 1966; Homma, 1990).

29 Findings: Crowding Perceptions, cont’d

30 Conclusions There is diversity in the settings preferred by different visitors to coral reefs that is related to culture. For example, crowding is a significant issue for Non-Thai visitors. There is diversity in the settings preferred by different visitors to coral reefs that is related to culture. For example, crowding is a significant issue for Non-Thai visitors. Unfortunately, the marine park provides a single, uniform type of snorkeling experience. There is little variation between snorkeling environments and experiences with respect to access, on-site management, infrastructure, social interaction, and degree of regimentation. Unfortunately, the marine park provides a single, uniform type of snorkeling experience. There is little variation between snorkeling environments and experiences with respect to access, on-site management, infrastructure, social interaction, and degree of regimentation. Management prescriptions based on the “average snorkeler” may fail to provide subgroups with satisfying experiences. Management prescriptions based on the “average snorkeler” may fail to provide subgroups with satisfying experiences.

31 Recommendations Quality in outdoor recreation is best assured through the provision of a diverse set of opportunities to meet the range of tastes and preferences for recreational opportunities. Quality in outdoor recreation is best assured through the provision of a diverse set of opportunities to meet the range of tastes and preferences for recreational opportunities. Park managers and tour operators should seek to diversify the recreation experiences and settings offered to snorkelers in Koh Chang. Park managers and tour operators should seek to diversify the recreation experiences and settings offered to snorkelers in Koh Chang. Different park zones that designate level of use, type of use, amount of infrastructure, the services provided, and level of on- site management will provide for a range of snorkeling opportunities to suit the different experiences sought by visitors, and will help to protect the natural environment. Different park zones that designate level of use, type of use, amount of infrastructure, the services provided, and level of on- site management will provide for a range of snorkeling opportunities to suit the different experiences sought by visitors, and will help to protect the natural environment.

32 ROS 2  Restrictions on vessel and group size  Access restricted to snorkelers with demonstrated technical competence  Low levels of use (0-22 snorkelers)  High levels of on-sitemanagement  Reefs with high biological value  Exclusive of certain activities and behaviours  Few services provided  Access unrestricted  Moderate to high levels of use (> 22 snorkelers)  Low levels of on-site management  Reefs with low biological value  Few restrictions on aactivities  Emphasis on high quality services (e.g., interpretation, instruction on equipment use, hospitality) FOREIGN VISITORS THAI VISITORS ROS 1 Recommendations Results suggest the need for at least two recreation opportunities to appeal to Thai and Non-Thai visitors. Results suggest the need for at least two recreation opportunities to appeal to Thai and Non-Thai visitors.

33 Acknowledgements Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, Padi Project Aware, Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (UVic), CIDA. Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, Padi Project Aware, Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (UVic), CIDA. The Royal Thai Government for permission to undertake the studies. Data collection was greatly facilitated by the Sustainable Tourism Development Office on the island of Koh Chang. The Royal Thai Government for permission to undertake the studies. Data collection was greatly facilitated by the Sustainable Tourism Development Office on the island of Koh Chang. Ajarn Surachet and Ajarn Dachanee, Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, for logistical support, research design input, Ajarn Surachet and Ajarn Dachanee, Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, for logistical support, research design input, Government liaison and research assistants. Government liaison and research assistants. People of Koh Chang for their co-operation. People of Koh Chang for their co-operation.


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