CaMPAM Network and Forum











In a workshop held in Miami in 1997 convened by UNEP-CEP/SPAW and the Biscayne National Park, 50 representatives of 22 countries proposed the creation of a network for building capacity of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Wider Caribbean region. Since then, UNEP-CEP/SPAW has coordinated the network and implemented its programmes in collaboration with a variety of partners and donors, using different types of training and networking tools.

Since 2004 as a result of the White Water to Blue Water ( Conference, a number of institutions and individuals committed to partner with UNEP-CEP to enhance CaMPAM's mission of strengthening MPA's in the Wider Caribbean. Those institutions included the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) (, the most important forum of marine fisheries scientists in the Caribbean, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, offices within NOAA’s National Ocean Service and National Marine FisheriesService and others. As a result CaMPAM ( has become an active and evolving network, unique to the Wider Caribbean, with a variety of programmes focusing on MPA strengthening.

CaMPAM uses the annual scientific meeting and workshops at the GCFI as its fora to discuss emergent issues related to MPA management with the attendance of scientists, educators, fishers, MPA managers and natural resources management officers from countries of the Wider Caribbean. In addition, CaMPAM participates in international fora to share its experience with leaders and members of other regional relevant MPA managernetworks and capacity building programmes of the world (MAIA,; MedPAN,, etc.) to contribute with the development of their strategic plans.

In this fashion, the annual conferences of the GCFI serve as the CaMPAM annual meetings. UNEP-CEP raises funds to support travel of MPA managers throughout the region, in particular from SPAW Protocol Contracting Parties. Managers are provided with an opportunity to make presentations related to MPA science and management issues with simultaneous interpretation into English/Spanish. Special workshops are designed each year by CaMPAM to develop capacity on a particular topic. Topics to date have included development of the regional MPA database, MPA grant opportunities, sustainable fisheries practices, coral reef management, lionfish control, the Caribbean Challenge initiative etc. Presenters are selected based on reviewed abstracts. Papers which result from these presentations are published in the Proceedings of the GCFI annually. Participants also take the advantage of the other GCFI conference sessions and events to get updated on the latest research and information on marine science and fisheries issues, as well as networking with the 200-250 participants from the Wider Caribbean that attend the conference each year.

The following information summarizes some of the major activities implemented by CaMPAM to date:

The Training of Trainers (ToT) for MPA Managers

This is CaMPAM’s flagship training programme. It was designed in 1999 and includes a yearly, 2-week regional course for MPA practitioners who return to their countries and train others. The programme alternates between English and Spanish courses to address the needs of the entire region. Approximately 200 MPA staff and stewards from conservation NGOs and government environmental planners and managers have been trained on the biophysical features of the Caribbean marine environment, MPA planning, management, research, monitoring and policy; as well as on the basics of communication and training skills in order to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge to others. From 1999 to 2015, 11 regional courses (each with 12-21 trainees) were delivered in MPAs of Saba, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, the US Florida Keys, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Belize, Guadeloupe and Grenada. Over 2000 MPA staff and other stakeholders have been trained through the local follow-up courses organized by the trainees in each of their countries. Following the last regional course that took place in 2011 in Belize within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the most recent course in 2015 was held in Grenada through the Grenada Fisheries Division. This course saw the largest number of trainees since 1997, with 25 participants from across the Caribbean.

The course covers 8 modules on all aspects of MPA management imparted by regional experts that use the training manual produced by UNEP-CAR/RCU available in English and Spanish. The manual has been revised twice to update content and reference materials. Instructors use the manual as a guidance to design their classes. Around 3-4 instructors per course (conservation professionals and college professors) impart the lectures and lead the field work. The course coordinator serves as facilitator of the discussions and interactive exercises. The courses are enriched by exercises and visits to the local MPA; lectures by local experts; and exchanges with local communities with innovative and sustainable fishing/tourism practices. At every course, an evaluation session is held to allow the course coordinator to gather feedback from participants to improve the training programme and future courses.

These annual experiences, together with an in-depth evaluation conducted in 2007 made clear that the ToT programme required other training tools and initiatives in order to maximize its impact. In 2013, this resulted in the development of a mentorship programme allowing MPA staff to conduct exchanges and job shadowing within other more mature MPAs which function as "demonstration sites". These initial demonstration sites were selected within the former ICRAN-UNEP project.

The evaluation report is available here and the Training of Trainers reports here

Small and Medium Grant Fund (SMF)

As part of its continued support to MPAs through CaMPAM, UNEP-CEP/SPAW has established the small and medium size grants fund within CaMPAM. The SMF focuses on MPA strengthening and a call for proposals is launched annually for this purpose. Proposals are reviewed by CaMPAM core coordinating team and selected based on approved criteria. Support includes financial and technical assistance, up to a maximum of US$8,000 per small grants and up to US$120,000 for medium grants. The grants are funded by UNEP-CEP/SPAW with resources provided by government and non-government organizations, including the governments of Sweden, USA, France, Italy, Germany, as well as other donors and foundations (eg. the UN Foundation, MacArthur, the World Bank). Priority is given to proposals from SPAW parties and where UNEP-CEP funding will add value to, or facilitate, exchanges where some funding has already been secured from other sources.

The activities funded by the SGF can be grouped as follows:

  • Exchanges between MPA managers to promote the dissemination of successful management practices (enforcement, monitoring, zoning, community involvement, low-impact tourism, etc.) (several sites)
  • Exchanges of fishers in different countries to disseminate sustainable fishing practices (Negril Marine Park,  Jamaica; Sian Ka’an MR, Mexico; Hol Chan MR, Belize; Kuna Yala, Panama; Sandy Island/Oyster Bed MPA, Grenada; Soufriere Marine Management Area, St. Lucia; Puerto Morelos Marine Park, Mexico)
  • Promotion of alternative livelihoods for fishermen displaced by MPA regulations and/or  the decline of coastal fisheries resources (several sites)
  • Education outreach activities and materials to raise awareness of different sectors: school kids, youth, women, fishers, tour operators, visitors, educators, marine environmental officers, decision makers, etc. (Soufriere Marine Management Area, St. Lucia; Hol Chan MR, Belize)
  • Sea turtle conservation (Belize; Tortuguero, Costa Rica; Colombia)
  • Increase visibility of “best management” MPAs sites to serve as demonstration, training, and internship sites (several sites)
  • Assessments for zoning and monitoring (Negril and Portland Bight, Jamaica; Los Roques, Venezuela)
  • MPA planning consultation workshops  (several sites)
  • Update of MPA management and/or business plans (Bonaire Marine Park)
  • Dissemination of pelagic fishing practices (Grenada)
  • Lionfish  monitoring and control (Capurganá, Colombia)
  • Introduction of aquaculture techniques (Cuba; La Caleta Marine Park, Dominican Republic; Belize)
  • Local training on enforcement, coral reef monitoring, and other MPA management practices (Bucoo Reef Marine Park, Tobago; Sian Ka’an, Mexico; Grenada; Lighthouse Atoll, Belize)
  • Technical assistance for updating and/or implementation of management plans (Bonaire Marine Park)

For the summary reports of the small and mid-size grants, please visit the links as follows: and


Small Grants for Promoting Sustainable Fishing Practices and Alternative Livelihoods for Fishers

Pilot sites are selected for implementation of small projects aiming at approaching fishers and MPA managers for the common goal of conserving and restoring fisheries resources. Initially funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through UNEP-CEP/SPAW, they have continued on an ad hoc basis depending on demand and availability of funding. Priority objectives of this CaMPAM programme include the following:

Projects are developed in coordination with partners or fishery organizations such as CERMES, University of West Indies (, CRFM, and FAO-WECAFC (

Successful exchanges included:

  • Fundación BaluaUala, Kuna Yala, Panama: Promoting sustainable fisheries in Kuna Yala, Panama;
  • Antigua Barbuda-Dutch Antilles: Marine Protected Area learning exchange;
  • Puerto Morelos National Park, Mexico: Exchange visit of fishermen and MPA staff of the Soufriere Marine Management Area;
  • St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation and St. Kitts and Nevis: Marine resources stakeholders exchange on lionfish management;
  • Grenada Marine Protected Areas: Exchange visit to Seaflower Biosphere Reserve by staff;
  • Dominican Republic – Cuba: Community involvement in MPA management
  • Capacity Building between the MPAs of northern islands of the Lesser Antilles: Exchange meeting for MPA managers and staff of Saint-Martin/Sint-Maarten, Saint Barthélémy, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, Saint Kitts & Nevis;
  • Southern Belize - Punta Allen, Mexico: Exchange between fishers;
  • Cuba – SeaFlower, Colombia: Exchange on MPA capacity;
  • Tortuguero, Costa Rica- Necoclí, Colombia: Conservation initiatives exchange programme and capacity building in conservation and management of sea turtles in Colombia;
  • Banco Chinchorro, Mexico - Punta Allen, Mexico: Building capacity for rights-based management in Belize through an exchange between Belizean fishermen and managers;
  • Fisheries Division, Grenada: Training for fishermen from Sandy Island/Oyster Bed MPA, Grenada from fishermen in Dominica on the use of fish aggregating devices;
  • Venezuela - Dominican Republic: Fly-fishing training workshop for artisanal fishers from Dominican Republic;
  • Gladding Memorial Award Regional Fishers Summit — Miami: Fishers working for sustainable fisheries

The Marine Protected Areas Database

The regional MPA database undergoes continuous update and is periodically improved. Its improvement and full utilization by the MPA community and marine resources managers of the Wider Caribbean (scientists, educators, conservation practitioners, environmental planners and managers, and business sector) is a priority activity for CaMPAM. The database has been re-structured and ca. 60 fields capture a wider array of data and provide a comprehensive profile of each MPA. The database structure was reviewed by several regional experts and it is continually populated in collaboration with GCFI and the SPAW-RAC. The database is unique and more comprehensive than any other of its kind, and includes over 300 sites. A recent feature of the database developed in collaboration with GCFI includes interactive maps and production of fact sheets for MPAs whose information is most complete. It is an invaluable tool for MPA managers, practitioners, governments and donors, who could also use it in the assessment of MPA management programme and needs as more current data is uploaded. While the database is being populated and is available online at will require sustained management and inputs to be effective. It is structured to be maintained online by the managers themselves and with minimal inputs from UNEP-CEP/SPAW. The objectives of the CaMPAM MPA database are:

  • Incorporate the best available information from the most reliable sources on the identity (category, geographic and biogeographic location and extension, area); biophysical characteristics (hydro-climate, geomorphologic features, and species, habitats and ecological process occurrence and significance); legal status (designation, contacts) and management (objectives, tools and programmes, zoning scheme, biological and cultural resources, main issues, special expertise) of ca. 360 marine protected areas throughout the Wider Caribbean or Tropical Northwestern Atlantic Coastal Bio-geographic Province (from South Florida to French Guiana).
  • Develop new products (maps, summary results, reports, news) to be disseminated via CaMPAM list server and to specific targets (government, academia, conservation, business sector, donors).
  • Create a web-based database where resource planners, scholars, and the business sector can find high quality information of ca. 360 MPAs and link with similar databases (sites, national and global).
  • Develop permanent mechanisms for the periodic updating and improvement of the MPA database. 

For more information visit

Other activities with partners:

Regional Training Workshop on Socio-economic Monitoring

The SocMon Caribbean Workshop was convened in Soufriere, Saint Lucia, 9–13 May 2005 with logistical assistance from the Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) and the Department of Fisheries of Saint Lucia and funding the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and UNEP-CEP. Eighteen participants from 8 countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago were trained in using "Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers in the Caribbean: SocMon Caribbean", to complement their existing monitoring programmes. Local socioeconomic monitoring activities have been implemented in Xcalak NP, Mexico; Shoal Bay/Island Harbour MP, Anguilla; Montego Bay MP, Jamaica; Cades Bay Marine Reserve, Antigua and Barbuda; SMMA, St. Lucia and Sandy Island Oyster Bed MP, Grenada.

Useful Resources for MPA Managers

  • American Museum of Natural History. Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners. Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Lessons in Conservation. Developing capacity to sustain the Earth's diversity.
  • Callum M. Roberts and Julie P. Hawkins,2000 'Fully-protected marine reserves: a guide' 
  • Graeme Kelleher,'Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas', Best Practice Protected Area, Guidelines Series No. 3
  • Hill; J. and C. Wilkinson. 2004. Methods for ecological monitoring of coral reefs: A resource for managers. Australian Institute of Marine Science. 117pp.
  • Library of the Marine Protected Areas of the United States
  • Marine publications on The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Website.
  • Marshall, P and H. Shuttenberg. 2006. A Reef Managers' Guide to Coral Reef Bleaching. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, Australia.
  • McClanahan, T., Davies, J. and J. Maina. 2005. Factors influencing resource users and managers' perceptions towards marine protected area management in Kenya. Environmental Conservation. 32(1):42-49.
  • Montagut, R. et al. 2003. Tools and strategies for financial sustainability: how managers are building secure futures for their MPAs. MPA News 5(5).
  • Norris, R. and R. Curtis. 1999. Funding Protected Area Conservation in the Wider Caribbean: A Guide for Managers and Conservation Organizations. UNEP-TNC.
  • Phillips, A. (ed.). 2000. Financing Protected Areas: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers. Economic Benefits of Protected Areas Task Force of the World Commission on Protected Areas of IUCN and Economics Unit of IUCN.
  • Rodney V. Salm, John R.Clark with Erkki Siirila, 3rd ed., 2000 'Marine and Coastal Protected Areas - A Guide for Planners and Managers'
  • SocMon 2003. Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers in the Caribbean. Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers Series
  • The Coral Reef Alliance'Effective Coral Reef Marine Protected Areas: A Solution for Survival'
  • The Nature Conservancy, Building Reef Resilience into coral reef conservation. Tools for MPA Managers.
  • WIOMSA. UNEP. WWF. CZMC. Managing marine protected areas. A toolkit for the Western Indian Ocean. Led by IUCN Eastern African Regional Programme.

SPAW Protocol Documents

  • SPAW Protocol (text only)

  Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in SpanishDownload PDF file in French

  • Final Act, Resolutions 1990

    Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in Spanish Download PDF file in French

  • Final Act, Resolution, Appendix and Species Annexes I, II, III 1991

    Download PDF file in English

  • SPAW Factsheet

    Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in Spanish

  • SPAW Brochure

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  • SPAW Benefits Sheet

    Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in SpanishDownload PDF file in French

  • Guildines for Marine Mammal Watching in the WCR
    Download PDF file in English
  • Ratification Map

      Ratification Map