Hart KA, Gray T & Stead SM (2013) Consumptive versus non-consumptive use of sea turtles? Stakeholder perceptions about sustainable use in three communities near Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica. Marine Policy, 42, pp. 236-244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2013.03.008
The decline in populations of sea turtles has heightened controversy between two contrasting strategies for their sustainable management: consumptive use versus non-consumptive use. This study investigates perceptions held by individuals in three communities bordering a marine protected area in Costa Rica about consumptive and non-consumptive use of sea turtles on nesting beaches to determine how best to achieve sustainable management of the species. Face-to-face interviews (n=48 community members and n=8 key informants) were conducted in three communities (Cahuita Town, Hone Creek, and Playa Negra) during April and May 2009. The research found that in each community, residents' perceptions about consumptive and non-consumptive use were divided into four categories: norm-activated pro- and anti-environmentalism; and rationally self-interested pro- and anti-environmentalism. Given this perceptual diversity, it seems clear that no single management strategy would work successfully across all three communities, but that customised management measures were required to manage sea turtle populations in each area. The wider implication of this study is that there is no simple panacea for dealing with declining populations of sea turtles: each situation is sui generis, requiring measures tailored exclusively to its particular circumstances.
Sea turtles; Poaching; Marine protected areas; Conservation; Costa Rica
Marine Policy: Volume 42