At UPR Sea Grant, we promote sustainable tourism and marine recreation. Beaches and coastal areas attract a wide variety of users who often have conflicts with one another because they intend to use a limited space for incompatible uses. For example, according to the law, Puerto Rican beaches are public resources; however, unplanned coastal development has severely restricted the general public’s physical and visual access to many beaches.
Currently, Puerto Rico lacks a coherent management program to guarantee sanitary and safe conditions for beach users. Based on our research, we propose that Puerto Rico establishes a Department of Beach Management and Safety, with an allotted budget in relation to tourist and marine recreation related revenue. This will protect the resources that bring tourists and money to the local economy: our beaches.
In addition, because marine recreation activities often jeopardize the conservation of coastal resources, we encourage public participation in passive marine recreation activities (i.e. non-motorized watercrafts, snorkel trails, etc.) as a means to improve the quality of life of Puerto Ricans and the sustainable development of our coastal and marine resources. On a regular basis, our tourism and recreation specialist advises the tourism industry about the need for sustainable practices that will preserve this vital economic sector. UPR Sea Grant also advises government agencies and marinas on how to develop marine recreation facilities, services, and infrastructure in harmony with conservation efforts.