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.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
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.
Australian wild-catch fishers believe their industry is vulnerable given recent government reforms limiting their access to marine resources and that these decisions reflect public opposition to its practices. This paper presents research that assessed the social acceptability of the wild-catch industry and key influences on those public judgements. Contrary to expectations, survey data revealed a relatively high level of social acceptability for the industry. However, public trust was linked to respondents believing the industry was being effectively regulated and could demonstrate strong environmental stewardship. Negative judgements were linked to respondents with strong environmental values and beliefs about the importance of reducing the industry's environmental impacts. Accepting attitudes towards the industry were linked to higher trust in the fishing industry to sustain future fish stocks and protect marine animals. Australia's wild-catch commercial fishing industry can improve its trustworthiness by continually upgrading environmental stewardship practices and tailoring their engagement with key audiences.
Resource users’ perceptions are crucial for successful marine governance because they affect community support, participation and legitimacy. Efforts have been made to understand how fishers’ attitudes, understandings and interpretations of the environment and its governance emerge in small-scale fisheries. However, many quantitative studies have focussed on how individual-level attributes like socio-demographics are associated with perceptions, ignoring a fundamental scale at which humans arrive at their views about the world – the social group. In multi-gear fisheries, fishers typically cluster in two overlapping types of group: occupational groups (defined by fishing gear) and village communities. Taking into account also individual-level variables, which group type is more associated with particular environmental and governance perceptions, e.g. about change in fish stocks, collective action or appropriate management actions? Through questionnaires in combination with multivariate and multi-model inference, this study reveals that, among fishers in two villages in Zanzibar (n = 172), village is more associated with perceptions than occupational group or any other factor. Further, individual attributes like education and age influence perceptions. The main finding implies that the role of social-cultural processes might have been underestimated in quantitative research on research users’ perceptions. This has consequences for policy and research and shows that both can be informed by statistical analyses that disentangles effects of different levels of group belonging.
This paper presents the results of a face-to-face survey of the attitudes of Polish fishermen towards Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). Fishermen's self-assessed knowledge regarding MSP and their expectations were analysed. The conclusion reached shows that, despite similar access to information about MSP, Polish fishermen are less knowledgeable, more sceptical and more fearful of the MSP, than the other stakeholders involved. As a result, better education or more information on MSP would not suffice in making fishermen overcome their scepticism on the planning outcomes. In addition, the governing bodies of MSP should build trust and awareness, stimulate the stakeholders' interests in MSP, and convince the fishermen that MSP is friendly towards this specific sector. These findings did influence the MSP process in Poland, wherein MSP outreach was offered to the targeted groups of fishermen in the form of trust-building measures. A key lesson learned is that a capacity building process should be administered in such a way that the fishermen may easily distinguish it from other governance measures (e.g. under fishery or environment policy). An international component can play an important role in it. In conclusion, a number of observations are proposed with regard to future research on the attitudes of fishermen towards MSP. In particular, greater effort is necessary to better understand the motives of fishermen's scepticism towards the impact of MSP on their sector.