The transformation of coral reefs has profound implications for millions of people. However, the interactive effects of changing reefs and fishing remain poorly resolved. We combine underwater surveys (271 000 fishes), catch data (18 000 fishes), and household surveys (351 households) to evaluate how reef fishes and fishers in Moorea, French Polynesia responded to a landscape-scale loss of coral caused by sequential disturbances (a crown-of-thorns sea star outbreak followed by a category 4 cyclone). Although local communities were aware of the disturbances, less than 20% of households reported altering what fishes they caught or ate. This contrasts with substantial changes in the taxonomic composition in the catch data that mirrored changes in fish communities observed on the reef. Our findings highlight that resource users and scientists may have very different interpretations of what constitutes ‘change’ in these highly dynamic social–ecological systems, with broad implications for successful co-management of coral reef fisheries.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
Although Taiwan has taken conservation measures for coastal and offshore fishery resources in recent years, the effectiveness of resources rebuilding is unclear. Many initiatives, such as marine protected areas (MPAs), are frequently opposed by fishermen. This research reviewed management measures and interviewed 313 fishermen by purposive stratification and snowball sampling. Data were analyzed by fishery, age, and vessel size to address the attitudes and perceptions of fishermen toward twelve fisheries management measures. Descriptive statistics, as well as chi-squared tests and independent t-tests, were used for basic analysis and differences comparison between groups. The results showed that illegal fishing vesselsfrom China (71%), overfishing (69.5%), and ghost fishing (64%) are considered as major threats to Taiwan marine resources. The measures from voyage data recorders, larval anchovy, precious coral, and shark management result in higher satisfaction because of strict monitoring. The satisfaction measures for three net-type measures, i.e., trawler area closure, torch-light limitation, and gillnet limitation, were low. Line-type and small-scale vessel fishermen are more concerned with “small mesh size” and “ghost fishing”. Net-type, large-scale vessels and young fishermen were concerned about “climate change” and “inappropriate measures”. In conclusion, the priorities are to (1) establish a comprehensive scientific research framework; (2) strengthen enforcement to ensure resources rebuilding, especially for large-scale net fisheries; (3) promote public awareness and build communication between stakeholders to obtain support; and (4) communicate among policymakers and fishermen to increase mutual understanding.
Understanding the social dimensions of marine and coastal conservation is considered integral to better inform governance and management actions. Perceptions are recognized as a way to understand these dimensions, which can evidence limitations of current efforts, while facilitating more informed policy-making and provide a basis for more robust management actions. Following a qualitative and case study approach, this paper utilizes stakeholder interviews to explore the perceptions on marine ecosystems and current management actions that include marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Central American country of Guatemala. Results identify similarities and contrasts in the perception of marine conservation and MPAs, where weak local governments and limited community participation in the decision-making process can be considered the underlying problems. Recommendations are made which can capitalize upon multi-level improvements that need to integrate all stakeholder groups. Improvements should also consider the regional setting and must reflect Guatemala’s historical and social context. This paper highlights that stakeholder perceptions need a central role to further improve the quality of governance in coastal Guatemala. Recommendations can further assist other developing countries facing similar challenges.
This study primarily attempts to understand people's beliefs toward marine protected areas considering as a case study the National Marine Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades in Greece in order to achieve its sustainability. Specifically, it aims to identify people's opinion about the utility of the park investigating also their beliefs in relation to socioeconomic characteristics. For this reason, a face‐to‐face survey of 200 randomly selected residents and visitors of the area was carried out. The research was structured according to the principles of the contingent valuation method. According to the empirical findings, the majority of respondents recognized the contribution of the park to preserve the monk seal and the natural environment. Moreover, they want the maintenance of the park and more specialized protection measures in the area.
This research investigates consumers’ responses to products made of recycled ocean plastic. A quantitative study was conducted online with 258 Dutch consumers in which attitudinal and behavioural responses to products made of ocean plastic were investigated. The most important predictors of consumers’ purchase intention were anticipated conscience, value for money and perceived functionality. In addition, risks of contamination negatively influenced purchase intention. For willingness-to-pay (WTP) a price premium, anticipated conscience, recognisability and perceived safety appeared to be the most important predictors. Through a cluster analysis, four different consumer groups were identified. Two consumer clusters consisting of ‘sustainability experts’ and the ‘sustainability benevolent’ (59% of our sample) demonstrated a strong interest and a willingness to pay a price premium for these products. When comparing consumers’ responses in different product categories, results showed that quality expectations and purchase intention were generally lower for textile products than for durables and fast-moving consumer goods packages. This research contributes to the theoretical understanding of consumer responses to products made of recycled ocean plastic and can help companies to develop strategies to launch such products effectively.
Many tuna stocks are being depleted, and the bluefin tuna stock is of particular concern because it has been designated endangered or severely overexploited. Japan's actions are pivotal in protecting bluefin tuna stocks because high volumes are caught for sushi/sashimi. However, the efforts of the Japanese government to conserve these valuable stocks have been limited or even counterproductive, as the government currently seems to prioritise the short-term interests of the domestic fishing industry. In this study, public preferences are revealed, potentially affecting the position of the Japanese government in the long run by quantifying the extent to which public support could be generated with changes in specific features of the international agreement on the conservation and management of tuna resources. With a choice experiment that focused on the catch limits, target species, and parties who would be responsible for the expenses of monitoring, this paper finds that a fishery closure is the scenario least likely to inspire public support for tuna conservation. Japanese consumers favour a prompt management response to the overfishing of tuna fisheries beginning immediately when the exploitation of the stocks reaches an unsustainable level. Atlantic/Pacific bluefin tuna, compared to other tuna species, is a top conservation priority for Japanese consumers. These results indicate that although the current movement towards conserving bluefin tuna is publicly supported, conservation actions should have been initiated sufficiently early to avoid a drastic catch reduction before the stock was overfished or the population became endangered.
Offshore wind is gaining momentum in the United States as a viable source for meeting domestic energy needs. Although offshore wind farms have been developed in Europe and Asia, the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) is the first offshore wind farm built in North America. To improve marine resource management, it is critical to understand the impacts of the wind farm on marine resource users in context. Little is known about the impacts of offshore wind farms on marine resource users in the United States. This study investigates recreational and commercial fishers' perceptions of the impacts of the BIWF on the local marine ecosystem. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 fishers, mostly based out of Block Island or Point Judith, Rhode Island (US), in the summer and fall of 2017. During the interviews, fishers were asked about their perceptions of changes in the marine ecology of the wind farm area during and after the offshore wind turbines were constructed, and how their activities in the area have changed since the wind farm was installed. Results indicate that there were perceived impacts of the BIWF on the local ecosystem and the behavior of the marine resource users. For some recreational fishers, the wind farm functioned as a destination or target and served as an artificial reef for spearfishing. For some commercial fishers, the increase in recreational fishing due to the establishment of the BIWF crowded out commercial fishers in these areas. As the offshore wind farm industry expands within US waters, findings from this study and others like it can provide valuable insights on the potential impacts of these wind farms on marine resource users.
The formation of novel ecosystems by non-native species poses management challenges that are both socially and ecologically complex. Negative attitudes towards non-native species can complicate management in cases where non-native species provide ecosystem service benefits. Due to their intentional introduction over a century ago, non-native mangroves in Hawai’i present a unique case study. Although some have called for eradication of mangroves from Hawai’i, an active management approach may ultimately offer the greatest benefits to both the ecosystem and society by allowing mangroves to persist in locations where they provide habitat and crabbing access, while limiting their extent in other locations to protect native bird habitat and allow for beach and ocean access. We evaluated (1) attitudes and perceptions about non-native mangroves, (2) factors influencing these attitudes, and (3) support for different management approaches by surveying residents of Moloka’i, Hawai’i (n = 204). Negative attitudes towards mangroves were influenced by a lack of reliance on mangroves for benefit and a concern about threats to Moloka’i’s coast. Active management was supported by 88% of residents, while 41% supported eradication. Among the 88% in favor of active management, 24% of written in responses expressed a need for maintaining the benefits of mangroves and 67% described reducing the negative impacts, while 4% acknowledged both the benefit and harm the species has on the environment. As successful non-native species management may be dependent on local support, we emphasize that understanding human attitudes and perceptions is beneficial for non-native species managers in any location. Results from our study highlight the importance of understanding social attitudes towards non-native species management strategies from propagation to eradication. We conclude with a framework for integrating stakeholder attitudes and beliefs into novel ecosystem management
Misconceptions, lack of knowledge, and negative attitudes towards sharks act as barriers preventing actions required to tackle threats to shark populations, limiting the success of global shark conservation initiatives. Peru, a major player for the international trade of shark products, recently approved the ‘National Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras’ (PAN-Tib); a guiding document for conservation initiatives aimed at these fishes. Within PAN-Tib, the assessment of Peruvians’ current knowledge and attitudes towards sharks is listed as a research priority. Between June and October 2016, 2004 Peruvians were surveyed along the coast to characterize their (i) shark meat consumption patterns, and (ii) knowledge and attitudes towards sharks. Results suggest that shark meat consumption is extended, but not necessarily frequent, and higher in the northern regions of the country. However, 77.5% of shark meat consumers were unaware that they had eaten sharks. Although 57.6% of the participants recognized that sharks are present in Peruvian waters, only 19.4% of the surveyed population was capable of naming at least one local shark species. Moreover, Peruvians have very negative attitudes towards sharks. They fear them and view them as man-eaters, despite this, no shark attacks have ever been reported in the country. These results highlight the need to: (i) encourage sustainable shark meat consumption, and (ii) promote communication campaigns aimed at increasing knowledge about sharks, and their importance as a source of employment and food for coastal communities, as for the national economy.
The global marine environment degradation is strongly related to the unsustainable use of the marine living resources and the ineffective conservation policies. Assessing individual's general perceptions of marine biodiversity may contribute to the implementation of successful conservation policies within the existing social-cultural context. The present work investigates citizens' assigned values for ecosystem services, perceived threats, and attitudes toward marine biodiversity in a Greek coastal port city, Thessaloniki. We used the Social Values Indicators for ecosystem services list of items to measure values, a revised form of the Ocean Attitudes Questionnaire to assess attitudes toward the marine environment, and adopted items from past research to explore the perceived threats to the marine environment. Exploratory Factor Analysis revealed the structure of the constructs. Τhe results showed positive attitudes towards marine biodiversity while participants recognized the contribution of marine biodiversity to both ecological balance and economic development. Pollution from industry and farming were identified as the most important threats to the marine environment. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) were used to confirm the structure of the constructs and assess the relationships between attitudes, threats, and values. The results indicated that use values are strongly but negatively related to ecological attitudes and perceived threats, while non-use values are significantly and positively related to attitudes and threats. The utility of these results for designing effective policy implementations that incorporate public perceptions is discussed.