A key component of successful coastal management efforts is an effective communication and engagement strategy focused on raising awareness of a region to different stakeholders to encourage more pro-environmental behaviors. Accordingly, in recent times there has been a proliferation of research focused on improving engagement and communication with different users of the coastal environment. Despite this effort, a paucity of evidence is available to guide better communication and engagement with visitors (i.e., tourists). Addressing this knowledge gap is critical given the adverse impacts of current global coastal tourism on ecosystem health, and projected future increases in coastal tourism. Using a case study of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area (WHA) in Australia, we contribute toward filling this gap by identifying visitors’ perception of the region and their self-reported and intended pro-environmental behaviors. We also identify the types of information they access and trust, and explore whether different message framings on the value of the WHA influence visitors’ intended pro-environmental behavior. We determine that although visitors to the Ningaloo Coast WHA are optimistic about the future sustainability of the region, they have low understanding of the rules and regulations in place to support its management. Further, we find that visitors consider tourism to be a serious threat to the future of the region. However, most participants in our study considered the quality of their own environmental behavior to be high, and thus not contributing to these threats, although this did differ by gender. Finally, we highlight that visitors to the Ningaloo Coast WHA, for the most part, obtain their knowledge of the region during their visit, primarily through local signage and visitors centers. We discuss the implications of these results, and highlight future considerations for coastal managers when developing visitor-focused communication and engagement strategies.
Community-based and Participatory Management
Tourism on small tropical islands in the Global South is a balancing act between development to improve local livelihoods and the conservation of fragile coastal and coral ecosystems. The objective of our study is to develop a series of new spatial metrics to support sustainable development through assessing the direction and magnitude of tourism development support and conflict between groups. We surveyed 317 individuals out of an estimated total population of 3300 using public participation GIS (PPGIS) on Tioman Island, Malaysia. Here we present a first example of how nuances in conflict can be articulated spatially across different levels of attitude toward tourism development within and between different segments of the population. Our results suggest that treating a population as homogeneous risks missing place specific development conflicts between segments of the population and locations of agreement where development can be managed sustainably with the support of the community.
Planned adaptation to climate impacts and subsequent vulnerabilities will necessarily interact with autonomous responses enabled within existing fisheries management processes and initiated by the harvest and post-harvest components of fishing industries. Optimal adaptation options are those which enable negative effects to be mitigated and opportunities that arise to be maximized, both in relation to specific climate-driven changes and the broader fisheries system. We developed a two-step participatory approach to evaluating adaption options for key fisheries in the fast-warming hotspot of south-eastern Australia. Four fisheries (southern rock lobster, abalone, snapper, and blue grenadier) were selected as case studies on the basis of their high to moderate vulnerability to climatic effects on species distribution and abundance. Involved stakeholders undertook a “first pass” screening assessment of options, by characterizing and then evaluating options. In the characterization step potential adaptation options for each fishery, contextualized by prior knowledge of each species’ climate change exposure and sensitivity, were described using a characterization matrix. This matrix included: the specific climate vulnerability/challenges, the implications of each option on the fishery system as a whole, the temporal and spatial scales of implementation processes, and realized benefits and costs. In the evaluation step, semi-quantitative evaluation of options was undertaken by stakeholders scoring the anticipated performance of an option against a pre-determined set of criteria relating to perceived feasibility, risk (inclusive of potential costs), and benefit. Reduction of the total annual commercial catch as well as reductions in both effort and catch through spatial and temporal closures were the options scored as having the highest level of expected benefit and of feasibility and the lowest level of risk of negative outcomes overall. Our screening assessment represents a pragmatic approach to evaluate and compare support for and the effects of alternative adaptation options prior to committing to more detailed formal and resource intensive evaluation or implementation.
The development of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada is increasing in order to maintain and conserve important fish and marine mammal species and habitats. However, with protection comes certain regulations that affect the use of marine spaces. Regulations can restrict access and use of the marine environment, including certain fishing practices or the harvesting of specific species and some are designated to be no-go and no-take areas. While MPAs are important for the conservation of marine ecosystems, it is important that the rights and values of Indigenous peoples are not being violated with their implementation. This study examines the British Columbia Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB) MPA network to identify opportunities and constraints in the current process to identify governance mechanisms that can be incorporated to enhance MPA effectiveness and uphold Indigenous inherent and Treaty rights. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with First Nations staff and individuals, and federal and provincial government representatives to understand the perception of Indigenous participation in the MPA network process. Analysis of the interviews, along with evaluations of current MPA network strategies being used in the NSB have identified capacity building, respect and trust and past NSB initiatives as opportunities while existing governance structures and the non-inclusivity of all relevant First Nations in the NSB were highlighted as constraints. These findings have been used to inform management recommendations for the MPA process.
Matauranga Maori, a knowledge system incorporating Maori philosophical thought, worldview and practice, provides important insight and practice and is vital for understanding and managing Aotearoa New Zealand’s ecosystems. Yet, until recently, it has remained largely invisible to mainstream ecologists and resource managers in Aotearoa. Partnering with Maori and incorporating matauranga into ecological research offers an additional dimension to neoclassical science, which we argue leads to better outcomes for society and the environment. This special issue brings together 13 papers that highlight key concepts and provide exemplars of good practice, which demonstrate development of authentic, long-term partnerships with Maori.
The special issue itself has provided space for such scholarship, which does not necessarily align with western ideas of science, and has fostered the use of the Maori language by all papers having abstracts published in te reo Maori. Importantly, one of the key aims of this special issue is to stimulate further activity and research in this area. We contend that further research in this area will not only support Maori environmental and social aspirations but will also lead to holistic, enduring solutions for managing the unique biodiversity and ecosystems in Aotearoa. The challenge ahead for ecologists is to develop more widespread and effective partnerships with Maori and deeper understandings of matauranga Maori.
A comprehensive research study of Cabeza de Toro and Punta Cana’s fishing and tourism industries reveal viability of economic solutions between the hospitality industry, fishermen, and the government to reduce practices harmful to the coastal marine ecosystem. Recent research studies of Punta Cana and Cabeza de Toro’s coastal marine ecosystem demonstrate diminishing coral coverage and reduced fish populations. Causes for the decline of the coastal marine ecosystem include overfishing, illegal fishing of species conducive to coral health, and the destruction of mangrove sanctuaries. By methods of survey and in-person interview, researchers gathered data on over 20% of Cabeza de Toro’s fisherman population with the intent of further developing a co-management plan for the recently established marine protected area. Data collection included qualitative and quantitative research into income and livelihoods of Cabeza de Toro fishermen, fishing practices, interest in alternative work opportunities, and strength of social responsibility and environmental beliefs. Findings demonstrate that viable economic applications exist in forging partnerships between fishermen, the tourism and hospitality industries, and the local government.
This paper evaluates two stakeholder participatory workshops (local communities and tourism stakeholder) to support the development of a management plan for South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (SAMPA), Maldives. SAMPA is the largest MPA in the country declared by Maldives to preserve one of the largest whale shark aggregations in the world. However, to date it exists with no management plan to date. The objective of the workshops was to consult with stakeholders on a range of potential regulatory and governance mechanisms proposed for the MPA that can be included in a potential management plan. The paper finds that the two stakeholder workshops had, both functional and dysfunctional aspects that influenced the potential design of a management plan for SAMPA. Overall, the workshops represented a clear opportunity for collective learning and collaboration that fostered dialogue and deliberation. However, important and influential stakeholders were under-represented at the workshops. Furthermore, a reluctance of government to demonstrate how the outcomes of the workshop would be integrated in its decision-making left many participants feeling sceptical about the fairness, equity and effectiveness of the processes that would follow. With no management plan to date, this paper proposes that any future stakeholder process in SAMPA should be underpinned by well informed governance and regulatory options that have the support and commitment of the government which can ensure SAMPA's ecosystem services are sustained to benefit long-term human well-being.
While fisheries science in the USA has in the past been dominated by mode 1 knowledge production that is discipline-specific and focused on basic research, it has increasingly opened up to concerns with relevance, participation, and interdisciplinary inquiry. We consider how this transition has been experienced through the analysis of oral histories conducted with marine scientists, looking at the changes they have seen to their role as scientists and to the practice of doing science at the interface of knowledge production and policy. In particular, we examine scientists’ ideas about and experiences of collaboration, public responsibility, freedom and politics in science, diversity and outreach, involvement, and relevance to society. In so doing, we explore the implications of the co-production of science and policy as traditional domain boundaries are increasingly problematized.
This paper addresses the question: to what extent do insights from smaller, nearshore marine protected areas (MPAs) regarding the importance of participatory processes apply to large and remote MPAs (LMPAs)? To date there has been little empirical research about stakeholder participation in LMPA designation processes outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park context. Through an analysis of documents and 90 interviews collected by two independent research projects, this paper examines the designation process of a U.S. LMPA, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM), which was established in the waters of the U.S. territories of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam through a presidential proclamation under the U.S. Antiquities Act in 2009. Results indicate that overall the designation process for the Monument did not cohere with recommendations from nearshore MPA research about the importance of participation and transparency. Despite widespread support for conservation in that space, the proposed Monument was highly controverial. Stakeholders on all sides of the issue – advocates and opponents alike – expressed criticisms of the designation process. Concerns were related to the speed and perceived top-down nature of the process, the involvement of external entities, and the appropriateness of the process design for the local CNMI context. Data collected showed that much of the opposition to the Monument stemmed from how the process was conducted, rather than opposition to conservation. These findings suggest that a more participatory, collaborative, transparent, and culturally appropriate designation process might have achieved a similar conservation outcome while reducing conflict and enduring resentment. We derive six lessons learned from the MTMNM designation process that may be useful for LMPAs globally. Results suggest that key lessons from conventional MPAs about effective consultation and participation processes can apply to LMPAs, but also that new guidance is needed to account for the unique features of LMPAs.
To determine the relationship between the intent of owners of homes located near sea turtle nesting beaches in the state of Florida to engage in coastal conservation easements (CCE), the theory of planned behavior (TPB), environmental identity (EI) and relevant demographics were analyzed. As CCEs are a novel application of a proven conservation tool, a statewide survey was administered to 1274 property owners living within a mile of a protected section of sea turtle nesting habitat (e.g. state park, preserve, wildlife refuge). Multiple linear regression showed coastal property owners were more likely to engage with a CCE if they believed they had the ability and opportunity, held positive attitudes about entering into a CCE, and identified more favorably with potential CCE motivators for property owners. These motivators include receiving assistance from a conservation organization to manage their beachfront land; conserving beach habitat; obtaining annual tax deductions; and trusting the organization administering a CCE. Knowing these motivators and demographics of coastal property owners can help aid coastal land conservationists in crafting strategies to conserve sea turtle nesting beaches.