Tourism-related drivers of support for protection of fisheries resources on Andros Island, The Bahamas
Fisheries resources in the Caribbean suffer intense pressure from overharvesting. Some of the most valuable fisheries in The Bahamas, such as queen conch (Strombus gigas), spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), and Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), are overexploited and require additional protection. Despite these pressures, we currently know very little about the factors that underlie local residents' support for such protection. We interviewed residents of Andros Island, The Bahamas to evaluate how perception of environmental impacts of tourism, perception of benefits of tourism for their quality of life, income generation from tourism, and education level influenced their willingness to support additional protection of marine resources in the face of a growing tourism industry. We found that respondents supporting additional marine resource protection tended to perceive tourism as having negative impacts on marine resources and neutral to positive effects on their family's quality of life. Attending at least some college also positively influenced support for marine resource protection, although whether residents sold natural products to tourists did not appear to influence their stance on marine resource protection. Our results suggest education in a broad sense, and particularly education highlighting how tourism can both positively affect human well-being and harm marine resources, will promote public support for marine resource protection.
Area of Interest: Bahamas