Planning and management for marine and coastal areas is often contentious, with competing interests claiming their preferences are in the ‘public interest’. Defining the public interest for marine and coastal areas remains a wicked problem, however, resistant to resolution. A focus on more tangible ‘public values’ offers an alternative for policy and planning in specific contexts. However, ambiguity surrounds who or what constitutes the ‘public’, with stakeholder engagement often used as a proxy in marine and coastal research. In this study, the outcomes of participatory processes involving the public from diverse backgrounds and geographical locales were explored. A public participation GIS (PPGIS) survey was undertaken in the remote Kimberley region of Australia to identify the spatial values and management preferences for marine and coastal areas. Similarities and differences between the volunteer public (n = 372) and online panel respondents (n = 206); and for the volunteer public only, differences between residents (n = 118) and non-residents (n = 254) were assessed. Online panelists evidenced lesser quality mapping data and did not provide a reliable means of accessing ‘public’ values. Residents were more likely to map general recreational and recreational fishing values while non-locals were more likely to map biological/conservation and wilderness values. Overall, residents and non-residents were more alike than dissimilar in their mapping of values and management preferences, suggesting that the need to preference local views may be overstated, although there may be differences in policy priorities. Future research should focus on the breadth and representativeness of stakeholder interests to access the views of wider society and hence public values, rather than current approaches where local interests are often the primary focus of participatory stakeholder engagement.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
A substantial amount of scientific effort goes into understanding and measuring compliance in fisheries. Understanding why, how and when fishers follow or violate rules is crucial for designing effective fishery policies that can halt overfishing. Non-compliance was initially explained almost exclusively with reference to economic and self-interested motivations. More recently, however, most explanations involve a combination of economic, social, political and environmental factors. Despite this recent development towards more holistic explanations, many scientists continue to frame the issue in binary terms: fishers either follow rules, or they don't. In this article we challenge this binary interpretation and focus attention on the diversity of fishers’ dispositions and perceptions that underpin compliant behaviour. To this aim we construct a typology of fishers’ responses towards regulation and authorities, thereby developing conceptual tools to understand different motivations and attitudes that underlie compliance outcomes. For this purpose, we identify the motivational postures of ‘creativity’ and ‘reluctance’, and then highlight their empirical relevance with an interview study of Swedish fishers. Reasons for studying the quality and diversity of fishers’ motivations and responses are not purely academic. Conceptualizing and observing the quality of compliance can help policymakers and managers gauge and anticipate the potentiality of non-compliant fishing practices that may threaten the resilience of marine ecosystems.
•Examines moral economies of commercial and recreational fishers.
•Moral economy discourses stem from material interactions with fishery resources and historical development patterns.
•Fishers have divergent definitions of value, waste, and public resources.
•Fisher moral economies have the potential to be encoded in fisheries policies, affecting material access to resources.
Given the socio-economic consequences associated with declaring areas of ocean protected in order to achieve conservation objectives, this paper contributes to the growing global need to assess Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as an effective management tool. It adds to the current body of knowledge on MPA effectiveness by conducting an evaluation of the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP), located in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in the eastern Caribbean, using a modified MPA effectiveness framework. Due to the limited information existing about the current performance of this MPA, this assessment also provides needed insight on the effect that the TCMP is having on the marine ecosystem, as well as its overall management performance. By comparing the performance of the MPA over a 10-year span (2007 and 2016), the results indicate that overall, the TCMP could be described as having limited success when key management categories of context, planning, input, process, output and outcomes are evaluated. In particular, efforts dedicated to planning, process and outcomes are assessed as deficient. Furthermore, the analysis revealed that efforts to realize the stated goals relating to conservation, public awareness and public education were being neglected. However, considerable effort was being expended by TCMP staff on achieving the remaining goal focusing on deriving economic benefits from touristic activities in the Park. Preliminary field research examining the effects of the TCMP on the abundance and density of an economically important species, Lobatus gigas, (commonly referred to as the queen conch) showed the TCMP as having no effect towards conch protection. The results and recommendations of this study, combined with continued monitoring of a recommended targeted suite of indicators, could contribute to better-informed adaptive MPA management, leading to progress towards the achievement of the stated goals for the TCMP.
Ireland is working to double the economic contribution of its €2.2bn marine sector by 2030 by focusing on expanding offshore energy, shipping, commercial fishing, and tourism sectors. This growth will be sensitive to environmental considerations, with a stated goal of achieving healthy ecosystems ‘that provide monetary and non-monetary goods and services’. Such a goal may prove challenging if short-term economic priorities threaten long-term ecosystem functions and resilience. This study determines the intrinsic value of the marine realm via attitudinal data of stakeholders by employing a grounded theory approach utilizing Q-methodology. Stakeholders were sorted into three categorical factors (Nature Collaborators, Sustainability Seekers, and Nature Technicians), each representing a significantly distinct ecological thought. It is evident within the scope of this study that stakeholders value and understand intrinsic value, despite it not being adequately represented in policy decisions to date. This research seeks to demonstrate how stakeholder engagement and Q-methodology can be utilized to address current policy shortcomings in the EU and Irish context, specifically when attempting to modernize policy approaches to be holistic and integrated.
The apparent prevalence of rare species (rarity) in the deep sea is a concern for environmental management and conservation of biodiversity. Rare species are often considered at risk of extinction and, in terrestrial and shallow water environments, have been shown to play key roles within an ecosystem. In the deep-sea environment, current research focuses primarily on abundant species and deep-sea stakeholders are questioning the importance of rare species in ecosystem functioning. This study asks whether deep-sea stakeholders (primarily scientists) view rare-species research as a priority in guiding environmental management. Delphi methodology (i.e., an iterative survey approach) was used to understand views about whether or not ‘deep-sea scientists should allocate more resources to research on rare species in the deep sea, even if this means less resources might be available for abundant-species research.’ Results suggest little consensus regarding the prioritization of resources for rare-species research. From Survey 1 to Survey 3, the average participant response shifted toward a view that rare-species research is not a priority if it comes at a cost to research on abundant species. Participants pointed to the need for a balanced approach and highlighted knowledge gaps about even the most fundamental questions, including whether rare species are truly ‘rare’ or simply under-sampled. Participants emphasized the lack of basic biological knowledge for rare and abundant species, particularly abundant meio- and microscopic species, as well as uncertainty in the roles rare and abundant species play in ecosystem processes. Approaches that jointly consider the role of rare and abundant species in ecosystem functioning (e.g., biological trait analysis) may help to clarify the extent to which rare species need to be incorporated into deep-sea environment management in order to maintain ecosystem functioning.
Marine reserve placement must account for the importance of places for resource use to minimize negative socioeconomic impacts and improve compliance. It is often assumed that placing marine reserves in locations that minimize lost fishing opportunities will reduce impacts on coastal communities, but the influence of the fishing data used on this outcome remains poorly understood. In the Madang Lagoon (Papua New Guinea), we compared three types of proxies for conservation costs to local fishing communities. We developed two types of proxies of opportunity costs commonly used in marine conservation planning: current fishing activity with fisher surveys (n = 68) and proximity from shore. We also developed proxies based on areas of importance for fishing as perceived by surveyed households (n = 52). Although all proxies led to different configurations of potential marine reserves, the three types of cost data reflect different aspects of importance for fishing and should be used as complementary measures.
Public support for carbon emissions mitigation is crucial to motivate action to address global issues like climate change and ocean acidification (OA). Yet in the public sphere, carbon emissions mitigation policies are typically discussed in the context of climate change and rarely in the context of OA or other global change outcomes. In this paper, we advance research on OA and climate change perceptions and communication, by (i) examining causal beliefs about ocean acidification, and (ii) measuring support for mitigation policies from individuals presented with one of five different policy frames (climate change, global warming, carbon pollution, air pollution, and ocean acidification). Knowledge about OA causes and consequences is more widespread than we anticipated, though still generally low. Somewhat surprisingly, an “air pollution” mitigation frame elicits the highest degree of policy support overall, while “carbon pollution” performs no better than “climate change” or “global warming.” Framing effects are in part contingent on prior knowledge and attitudes, and mediated by concern. Perhaps due to a lack of OA awareness, the OA frame generates the least support overall, although it seems to close the gap in support associated with political orientation: the OA frame increases support among those (few) conservatives who report having heard of OA before the survey. These findings complement previous work on climate change communication and suggest the need for further research into OA as an effective way to engage conservatives in carbon emissions mitigation policy. Potentially even more promising is the air pollution framing.
This article presents a case study of the ecosystem-based management model embedded within British Columbia’s Marine Plan Partnership for the Pacific North Coast and the Great Bear Initiative. These are two distinct, yet linked, examples of resource management and economic development that use ecosystem-based management in a way that incorporates indigenous perspectives and aspirations. The model potentially provides a framework that other countries, including Aotearoa (New Zealand), could examine and adapt to their own contexts using new governance structures and working with indigenous perspectives that include traditional ecological knowledge and aspirations. The case study is presented from a Māori perspective that represents both an insider (indigenous) and outsider (non-First Nations) view.
The yearly influx of Sargassum onto the beaches of northwest Florida is considered a nuisance to some and a necessity to others. In Pensacola Beach, the Santa Rosa Island Authority rakes the wrack with mechanical beach cleaners to improve the aesthetic quality for beachgoers. The purpose of this study was three-fold: to evaluate the local faunal use of Sargassum wrack, to gauge public perception of Sargassum on the beach, and to test whether public perception of the beauty of the beach, the necessity of raking, and the likelihood of visiting could be influenced by a simple educational sign. A two-part methodology consisted of 1) systematic observation of faunal use, and 2) interviews of 200 beachgoers via a detailed pre-post/post only public use survey. Results showed that 11 of the 22 species of shorebirds documented, including two uncommon migrants, were observed using Sargassum wrack to forage, rest, and hide. Public survey results demonstrated that although beachgoers generally considered themselves to be “ecofriendly”, their perceptions of Sargassum wrack can be positively influenced through environmental education such as informative signage on the beach. In conclusion, Sargassum wrack provides valuable additional habitat to shorebirds and other critters, and that leaving the beach wrack to naturally become part of the ecosystem would not deter most beachgoers (70%) from visiting Pensacola Beach. This research contributes valuable information to coastal managers and other stakeholders for improved ecosystem protection and management.