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History of the Cays

The Fisheries Division of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) designated the Tobago Cays a conservation area as part of the Fisheries Regulations of 1987.

In 1997, the SVG government promulgated the Marine Parks Act, which declared the Tobago Cays a marine park and created a marine park board to oversee the management of the TCMP and any future marine parks.

In 1998, the SVG government formally adopted marine park regulations. A year later St. Vincent and the Grenadines purchased the Tobago Cays, which had until that time been privately owned, from the Tobago Cays Holding Company for US$1,025,000, well below market value, with the stipulation that it would remain a national park in perpetuity.

In 2005, the TCMP was selected as one of six protected area demonstration sites for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) project. The OPAAL project, funded by the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank; the Fonds Francais de L’Environnement Mondial (FFEM); and the Organization of American States (OAS), currently in its fifth year of implementation, has provided St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the TCMP with resources for and technical assistance in strengthening protected area management, the development of sustainable livelihood opportunities, and capacity building.

With the support of the OPAAL project, a new management plan was drafted in 2006 and endorsed in early 2007 by Cabinet. Also in 2006, concurrent with the establishment of a user fee system and the gazetting of park boundaries, the TCMP was relaunched as a marine park. In the last four years, the TCMP has worked to achieve its objectives of protecting the resources of the Tobago Cays for the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

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