Territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) are becoming a widely promoted tool to enhance the sustainability of small-scale fisheries. In 1991, Chile established a national coastal TURF policy that gave legal authority to assign exclusive access rights to artisanal fisher organizations. In 2014, there were several hundred TURFs decreed to fisher organizations in different biophysical and socioeconomic settings. To date, research assessing TURF implementation has generally been based on a few case studies and have had mixed results. Here, we present results from a survey of 535 fishers from 55 different artisanal fisher organizations. The survey consisted of three open-ended questions that explore users' perceptions of the main problems, benefits, and improvements concerning assigned TURFs. We also sampled 55 presidents of artisanal fisher organizations to explore how they perceived the accomplishments of TURFs. Main key problems, as perceived by fishers, include increased costs associated with surveillance and poaching, and the variability and sometimes lack of financial returns. Despite strong price drops in exported species, TURFs have provided incentives for innovation and stewardship, and fishers are generally unwilling to relinquish them. In fact, fishers define TURF benefits in multiple dimensions, which include conservation/ ecological and territorial empowerment. Fisher presidents stress that although expectations of economic benefits have not been fully realized, territorial empowerment is a critical benefit. Through the analysis of fishers' perceptions on solutions to TURFs' problems, we highlight the development of stocking activities, combining TURFs with marine reserves, food traceability, and what we call BIO+ seafood— products that have associated biodiversity benefits.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
It is often assumed that issue advocacy will compromise the credibility of scientists. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment to test public reactions to six different advocacy statements made by a scientist—ranging from a purely informational statement to an endorsement of specific policies. We found that perceived credibility of the communicating scientist was uniformly high in five of the six message conditions, suffering only when he advocated for a specific policy—building more nuclear power plants (although credibility did not suffer when advocating for a different specific policy—carbon dioxide limits at power plants). We also found no significant differences in trust in the broader climate science community between the six message conditions. Our results suggest that climate scientists who wish to engage in certain forms of advocacy have considerable latitude to do so without risking harm to their credibility, or the credibility of the scientific community.
The Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC), Paraná State, southern Brazil, has rich biodiversity and attracts the attention of researchers in several areas. In this region, there is a mosaic of protected areas that aim to maintain the natural heritage through regulation of the use of the area and natural resources and are also home to traditional extractive communities, such as fisherfolk. These coastal communities are dependent on local resources and are continually in contact with researchers working mainly on studies related to coastal environmental issues. However, the results generated in these studies realized in marine environment are rarely shared or discussed with these traditional communities before being taken to decision makers, which can result in conflicts between those involved, the acceptance of reduced management measures and the loss of research credibility. The objective of this article is to describe the perception of marine traditional fishermen from the village of Ilha das Peças (VIP) and the village of Ilha do Superagui (VIS), both located in the vicinity of the protected areas, regarding the scientific research conducted in the PEC. In 2012, ethnographic interviews were conducted through semi-structured questionnaires given to fisherfolk in the VIP (n = 40) and the VIS (n = 50). The level of education among the fishermen in the two villages is low, which can influence the perception of the research conducted in the region. All respondents in the VIP and VIS described not receiving reports from researchers regarding the results. Therefore, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction regarding the lines of research in general, which is extended to the funding agencies and the presence of researchers in the area, representing conflicts with the management of marine resources. According to the respondents, the research does not seek solutions to social and environmental problems but only evaluates and seeks to preserve the fauna and flora, excluding the human component of the broader ecological processes. Dialogue between scientific and traditional knowledge is essential in the joint search for effective solutions to social and environmental problems, especially in areas designated as priorities for biological conservation in the coastal environment.
Understanding and solving complex ocean conservation problems requires cooperation not just among scientific disciplines but also across sectors. A recently published survey that probed research priorities of marine scientists, when provided to ocean stakeholders, revealed some agreement on priorities but also illuminated key differences. Ocean acidification, cumulative impacts, bycatch effects, and restoration effectiveness were in the top 10 priorities for scientists and stakeholder groups. Significant priority differences were that scientists favored research questions about ocean acidification and marine protected areas; policymakers prioritized questions about habitat restoration, bycatch, and precaution; and fisheries sector resource users called for the inclusion of local ecological knowledge in policymaking. These results quantitatively demonstrate how different stakeholder groups approach ocean issues and highlight the need to incorporate other types of knowledge in the codesign of solutions-oriented research, which may facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration.
Recent coastal planning measures in south-east Portugal (Algarve), where offshore aquaculture developments were set up in fishing areas aiming to maximize expected utility of seafood production activities, raised some discontentment. Public policies created to safeguard offshore aquaculture (OSA) producers and limit small-scale fishing (SSF) activities must be adjusted accordingly in order to maximize income and keep discontentment at a minimum. We collected primary data from stakeholders, fishers (n = 18) and offshore aquaculture operators (n = 3) through participatory workshops and interviews by eliciting problematic issues derived from the offshore area creation and their relative relevance. We used these data to populate conditional probability tables and construct a related influence diagram (Bayesian belief networks) to model the affected system. We selected nine scenarios based on navigability and aquaculture area size with the aim of finding the best expected utility combinations for the OSA – SSF system. The inferred results show that maximizing employment and keep pollution at low levels were the most influential factors to keep the system at a satisfactory level. The best decision was not to enlarge the aquaculture area, but to condition the access to other operational stakeholders, namely SSF operators from nearby areas. The overall results of the Bayesian belief network can be used to recommend coastal planners and decision-makers to deal with the interaction between OSA and SSF activities.
Aquaculture is developing rapidly at a global scale and sustainable practices are an essential part of meeting the protein requirements of the ballooning human population. Locating aquaculture offshore is one strategy that may help address some issues related to nearshore development. However, offshore production is nascent and distinctions between the types of aquatic farming may not be fully understood by the public–important for collaboration, research, and development. Here we evaluate and report, to our knowledge, the first multinational quantification of the relative sentiments and opinions of the public around distinct forms of aquaculture. Using thousands of newspaper headlines (Ntotal = 1,596) from developed (no. countries = 26) and developing (42) nations, ranging over periods of 1984 to 2015, we found an expanding positive trend of general ‘aquaculture’ coverage, while ‘marine’ and ‘offshore’ appeared more negative. Overall, developing regions published proportionally more positive than negative headlines than developed countries. As case studies, government collected public comments (Ntotal = 1,585) from the United States of America (USA) and New Zealand mirrored the media sentiments; offshore perception being particularly negative in the USA. We also found public sentiment may be influenced by local environmental disasters not directly related to aquaculture (e.g., oil spills). Both countries voiced concern over environmental impacts, but the concerns tended to be more generalized, rather than targeted issues. Two factors that could be inhibiting informed discussion and decisions about offshore aquaculture are lack of applicable knowledge and actual local development issues. Better communication and investigation of the real versus perceived impacts of aquaculture could aid in clarifying the debate about aquaculture, and help support future sustainable growth.
Community acceptance of Marine Parks is widely acknowledged as being critical for success. Where community stewardship and voluntary compliance have been achieved, there are fewer issues with non-compliance of zoning regulations. Probability-based surveys that are representative of the wider community can improve understanding of community perceptions prior to and following establishment of Marine Parks. Understanding attitudes towards newly created Marine Parks among user groups provides valuable information for the design of education and engagement programs, while also creating a benchmark to compare changes over time. A survey of community perceptions and awareness regarding the recently created Ngari Capes Marine Park in south-west Western Australia was measured via a randomised telephone survey of local and non-local boat-based recreational fishers; and local residents (including non-fishers and shore/boat fishers). This survey also evaluated other recreational uses of the park and how these activities were valued, knowledge of Marine Park zones, and how information about Marine Parks was being accessed. Participation in recreational fishing within Ngari Capes was above average and a supportive attitude towards the park was apparent. Boat-based recreational fishers displayed a higher degree of concern about fishing restrictions compared to local residents, but overall were supportive of the Marine Park. Across all user groups there was low awareness of the Ngari Capes Marine Park and poor understanding of Marine Parks. A lack of clarity regarding the likely benefits of the Ngari Capes Marine Park was apparent, implying a need to improve public communication and community engagement.
In 2012, the State of Oregon designated five marine reserves in its waters (Otter Rock, Redfish Rocks, Cape Falcon, Cape Perpetua, Cascade Head) to advance scientific research, assess impacts of reserve implementation, and conserve habitats and biodiversity. Studies have examined biological issues and impacts associated with these reserves. Evaluations of social and economic impacts, however, mainly involved information from community evaluation teams consisting of small groups of stakeholders (e.g., commercial anglers, conservation groups, watershed councils, scientists). Additional data for evaluating social and economic impacts of these reserves were collected from town hall meetings with select residents, questionnaires given to specific industries or interest groups (e.g., commercial and recreational anglers), and other observational data. Taken together, these efforts involved economic stakeholders and vocal residents thought to be most directly affected by these reserves.
Thorough comprehension of the perceptions of offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by different local social actors is lacking, especially in developing countries. This study aims to analyze the perceptions and socioeconomic characteristics of divers and artisanal fishers of an offshore MPA, located in Brazilian waters. Data on the perceptions, conflicts, and management of the MPA were gathered through questionnaires and interviews with local actors. The results show that scuba divers and fishers consider the MPA to be very important for biodiversity. They also consider their collaboration in participative management to be of considerable importance, even though they do not form part of the administration. For local actors, the area helps foster the preservation of the marine environment and benefits recreational diving, tourism, and artisanal fishery in local communities. Divers and fishers use the resources and space of the offshore area differently, which results in diverging perceptions and conflicts. Divers propose restricted protection (No-Take Zones), while fishers propose that the MPA should be used exclusively by the poor local communities for artisanal fishing. Conflicts arising from inefficient public administration (lack of environmental zoning, management plans, and participative management) and illegal use of the MPA were also identified. Data stemming from the local actors themselves are central to reducing the conflicts and improving public policies on offshore marine conservation.
The European fisheries management is currently undergoing a fundamental change in the handling of catches of commercial fisheries with the implementation of the 2013 Common Fisheries Policy. One of the main objectives of the policy is to end the practice of discarding in the EU by 2019. However, for such changes to be successful, it is vital to ensure stakeholders acceptance, and it is prudent to consider possible means to verify compliance with the new regulation. Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) with Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) has been tested in a variety of fisheries worldwide for different purposes and is currently considered as one possible tool to ensure compliance with a European ban on discards.
This study focuses on Danish fishery inspectors and on fishers with REM experience, whose opinions are less well known. Their views on the landing obligation and on the use of REM were investigated using interviews and questionnaires, and contrasted to some fishers without REM experience. 80% of fishery inspectors and 58% of REM-experienced fishers expressed positive views on REM. 9 out of 10 interviewed fishers without REM experience were against REM. Participation in a REM trial has not led to antipathy towards REM. Fishery inspectors saw on-board observers, at-sea control and REM as the three best solutions to control the landing obligation but shared the general belief that the landing obligation cannot be enforced properly and will be difficult for fishers to comply with. The strengths and weaknesses of REM in this context are discussed.