Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 33 of 83

34 | W hether we call them national parks, reserves or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), a big question in the ocean conservation world is: How do we pay for all these treasures of nature? Do we turn to governments, the public, private funding or world organizations? The Bahamas National Trust's answer to fund successful MPAs and national parks is to design and operate them like any other successful business venture by factoring in financial sustainability from the beginning. The BNT is doing just this as they redevelop the infrastructure and operations of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park so that the park will be sustainable within nature and the community. The funding mechanism the BNT designed is based on "tax deductible gifts" from those who use the park—anyone from boat charters to marine researchers. Because of the park's pristine beauty and diversity of life, it's extremely popular with scientists, researchers, filmmakers, NGOs, cruising yachts, charter boats and others who take advantage of the sweet surroundings. All of these user groups have fee structures that directly support the Marine Protected Area and national park maintenance and operations. This systems works well as a sort of pay-to-play The Complex Future of Marine Parks BY CAPTAIN JOSEPH IERNA, JR. Pirate's Lair. This lagoon offered protection from the weather and access to a natural freshwater spring and was a favorite anchorage for pirates. In the lower right, you can see stromatolites under the water. These rock-like structures are formed very slowly by microorganisms and are one of the oldest and rarest forms of life on earth. Photo by Colin Ruggiero

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