Marine park financing advice to MPAConnect network


As a strategic advisor of MPAConnect, Wolfs Company has worked with multiple Marine Protected Area (MPA) managers from the Wider Caribbean to strengthen their business plans and capacities for sustainable financing.

The MPAConnect network

MPAConnect is a learning network of 32 MPA managers from 11 countries in the Wider Caribbean. The network is coordinated in a partnership between the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through their Coral Reef Conservation Program, and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI).

Capacity building activities of MPAConnect respond to priorities identified through a self-evaluation tool that covers capacity needs in 20 areas of effective MPA management. Sustainable financing has remained a top priority need for MPAs in the detailed assessments in 2011 and 2017.

Our strategic role

In 2019, our team facilitated the MPAConnect regional peer-to-peer exchange workshop in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands and worked with 14 participating MPAs to design financing strategies and help them build further capacities on MPA finance.

Participants in the peer-to-peer learning exchange on sustainable financing, Turks and Caicos Islands, 2019

We have also implemented site-specific projects with MPAConnect members since 2015, including:

  • The Department of Environment and Coastal Resources of the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2015-2016: Estimating the value of nature for tourism and analyzing legal opportunities to guarantee a sustainable source of income for optimal protected area management (see the project here and learn more about it in our Panorama solution);
  • Roatan Marine Park and TIDE Belize in 2017-2018: Conducting a two-phase project to assist these organizations in the identification and design of sustainable financing mechanisms to support their nature conservation activities in the long-term  (learn more about phase I and phase II);
  • BICA Roatán in 2020: Analyzing the potential and building a business case to support the introduction of a local water monitoring lab as a new source of conservation funding (learn more here);
  • Saint Lucia National Trust in 2021: Exploring the viability and potential for the introduction of a new tourism package; and
  • Bahamas National Trust in 2021: Analyzing the potential and building the case to support the development of an online merchandise platform as a new source of conservation funding.

Creating adaptive strategies

Our collaboration with the network has taught our team that substantive progress on MPA financing requires creative solutions that are tailored to specific sites. And moreover: a changing world demands continuous revision of the financing strategies in use.

In 2020, we re-visited the financing strategies of 11 MPAs that participated in the regional peer-to-peer exchange workshop through the lens of resilience. As tourism-dependent economies across the Wider Caribbean faced the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, our team helped MPA managers integrate more diverse, predictable and flexible funding sources into their strategies.

The tools deployed and some of the experiences learned through our collaboration with MPAConnect members are being consolidated into an MPA finance toolkit to be released in 2021.  

Our team is also advising MPAConnect to tap into opportunities for fundraising synergies at the network level.