Profile: Emilie Novaczek

Emilie¡¯s research explored the issue of recreational marine use and the conservation challenges of tourism management in the San Andrés Archipelago, Colombia. Emilie¡¯s partner organization was the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providence, and Santa Catalina (CORALINA), the body tasked with overseeing the Seaflower Marine Protected Area.

The Seaflower MPA hosts some of the best-developed coral reef systems in the region. Marine tourism is an important economic feature of many Caribbean island communities, and this is certainly the case for San Andrés. A rapid change in recent decades from a fishing and agricultural community to one dependent on tourism has taken a toll on the environment and the distribution of resources on this densely-populated island. San Andres hosts 300,000 tourists annually.

Stakeholder consultations were carried out with marine tour and recreational water sport operators on San Andrés and the neighbouring islands of Old Providence and Santa Catalina (OPSC). Interviewees shared their observations about the health of the sites they visit with tourists and described their businesses¡¯ efforts to educate visitors about the fragile ecosystem. Shallow reefs around San Andrés and OPSC were also monitored for fish and invertebrate species using the Reef Check protocol. Where historic data was available, results were compared.

Emilie is currently back in Halifax, N.S. where she is using this research to write her honours thesis through the Dalhousie College of Sustainability. In May, she graduated from the University of King's College with a BSc Combined Honours in Sustainability & Biology.

Links:
Novaczek Midterm Report (pdf)
Novaczek Reef Check (pdf)
Novaczek SAI Marine Tourism (pdf)
Novaczek Final Report
Novaczek Thesis (pdf)