A collaborative and participatory process over an eighteen month period, among multiple stakeholders, led to the official establishment of the Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) in July 1995. As a result of this process, an 11 km-length area of coastline was apportioned into several zones, catering to the various users and uses.
The CATS Programme supports the SMMA/CAMMA not only in re-consolidating its day-to-day operations along an SMMA/CAMMA Management Plan, but also in increasing its financial sustainability and legal and organisational anchoring in the Saint Lucian national framework for MMA management.
Currently, the SMMA as part of the larger SMMA/CAMMA is delineated into several management (use) zones. A full delineation of management zones for the entire area is still pending. The SMMA management zones are delineated as listed below:
- Marine Reserves: These areas are declared for the purpose of protecting the natural resources they contain. No extractive activity is allowed. Entry into a Reserve (for diving, snorkelling, or research) is by permit and for a fee.
- Fishing Priority Areas: These areas are declared for the purpose of maintaining and sustaining fishing activities, which take precedence over any other use of the area.
- Recreational Areas: These are terrestrial (beaches) and marine (swimming and snorkelling) areas, which are reserved for public access and recreation. Public access must be maintained.
- Multiple Use Areas: In these zones, fishing, diving, snorkeling, and other legitimate uses are allowed, as long as the general rules of the SMMA and other national regulations are observed.
- Yacht Mooring Sites: Specific areas are designated to facilitate pleasure boats and yachts, without damaging bottom substrate, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. A coral conservation fee is charged for the use of the moorings.
In addition to supporting the general consolidation of managerial capacities with the Soufriere Marine Management Assocciation, Inc. (SMMA, designated SMMA/CAMMA management entity under Department of Fisheries), the CATS Programme assists the SMMA/CAMMA with the following:
- Revision and Amendment of the SMMA/CAMMA Management Plan and SMMA/CAMMA Operations Plan
- Development and Implementation of the SMMA Communication Strategy
- Procurement 4x4 Vehicle to SMMA Inc.
- Renewal and repair of SMMA and CAMMA mooring (including super-yacht mooring) and marker buoys
- Restoration, Repairs and Provision of Furniture at SMMA/ CAMMA Office and Visitor Centre in Soufriere
- Computer Equipment and Software
- Eleven Sets of Dive Equipment
- Safety and VHF Equipment to Office, Boat and Vehicle
- Book Keeping Course and Book Keeping System Installation
- Review and Strategic Action Planning for Changes and Amendments of the National Legal and Organisational Framework for Sustainable Management of Marine Reserves in Saint Lucia
- Wide Range of Capacity Buildings and Trainings related to MMA Management and Operations