Boaters and anglers who move between bodies of water are a primary cause of the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), which are non-native plants or animals that pose a threat to water quality, disrupt ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, and cause economic harm. Research suggests that engagement with these individuals through opinion leaders within their social networks has the potential to encourage attitude and behavior change. Using the theory of planned behavior as a framework, this article explores factors that may enhance AIS outreach behaviors among opinion leaders, namely, bait shop owners and their employees, to communicate with their customers. The results of this study suggest that perceptions about normative social pressures are a strong predictor of intentions to engage in outreach activities, but perceived behavioral control is a stronger predictor of actual engagement with their customers.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
Through history, population growth and anthropic activities have pressed and affected marine environments, causing impacts that were not always studied or reported. In this context, evaluate stakeholders perceptions of a particular region in Coastal Zones (CZs) can be useful for identifying environmental impacts that occurred in the past, especially in the absence of preterit data and effective monitoring. Engaging stakeholders in the discussion of local transformations may also contribute to the development of shared local management strategies regarding the knowledge and opinions of stakeholders about the place they live in. Thus, considering Araçá Bay as a case of study, this research aimed to understand preterit and present transformations on the Bay, through the perception of the people who live and visit the region for a long period of time. Data collected with interviews enabled the identification of events and factors that have induced changes in the region, mainly related to large enterprises and buildings that occurred from the second half of the twentieth century. Major impacts perceived by interviewees were changes in spatial configuration of the Bay, changes in hydrodynamic and sedimentary patterns, reduction of coastal vegetation areas and increased pollution. Some of these changes were also pointed by scientific studies or observed in historic aerial photographs, and were no totally predicted by EIA of related enterprise. Considering the importance of communities' perception and its use to better understand historical facts, preterit and present impacts derived from local human interventions, it is concluded that they are an important qualitative database and can be useful for the development of management strategies and for EIA analysis.
The legal establishment of protected areas is often associated with a situation of conflict arising between conservation and other human activities in particular spaces. This is primarily due to the fact that protected areas law requires changes in the behaviour of resource users. Conservation conflicts arising from the establishment of protected areas are well documented in the social science literature and attempts are made to find ways to reduce such conflicts. Yet, what of cases in which the establishment of protected areas serves to officialise existing sustainable practices and may contain an element of future proofing? Do they still generate practices of resistance and conflict? These questions are answered in this paper comparing two case studies where the authors conducted primary qualitative research: the designation of new Marine Conservation Zones under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 in the Isles of Scilly (South West of England) and the designation of a new Special Area of Conservation under Council Directive 92/43/EEC (the Habitats Directive) in Barra (Scottish Outer Hebrides). Both protected areas are highly unlikely to impose changes in local sea-users’ behaviour, as in both cases they validate existing practices and are future proofing, in the sense that they offer tools that can be used to minimize the effects of potential future shocks and stresses, presently unknown. Yet, while in Scilly the new Marine Conservation Zones have been perceived as a positive addition to the seascape, in Barra the Special Area of Conservation has been heavily contested by the local community. The islanders' different perspectives towards protected areas law can be described as divergent ‘legal consciousness’. ‘Legal consciousness’ is a socio-legal concept concerned with the ways in which the law is experienced, interpreted and re-shaped by ordinary people. In our case studies, legal consciousness is a dependent variable, being the product of three main causes: history, power relationships between regulators and regulatees and risk.
The coral reefs of Tanga, Tanzania were recognized as a national conservation priority in the early 1970s, but the lack of a management response led to damage by dynamite, beach seines, and high numbers of fishers until the mid 1990s. Subsequently, an Irish Aid funded IUCN Eastern Africa program operated from 1994 to mid 2007 to implement increased management aimed at reducing these impacts. The main effects of this management were to establish collaborative management areas, reduce dynamite and seine net fishing, and establish small community fisheries closures beginning in 1996. The ecology of the coral reefs was studied just prior to the initiation of this management in 1996, during, 2004, and a few years after the project ended in 2010. The perceptions of resource users towards management options were evaluated in 2010. The ecological studies indicated that the biomass of fish rose continuously during this period from 260 to 770 kg/ha but the small closures were no different from the non-closure areas. The benthic community studies indicate stability in the coral cover and community composition and an increase in coralline algae and topographic complexity over time. The lack of change in the coral community suggests resilience to various disturbances including fisheries management and the warm temperature anomaly of 1998. These results indicate that some aspects of the management program had been ecologically successful even after the donor program ended. Moreover, the increased compliance with seine net use and dynamite restrictions were the most likely factors causing this increase in fish biomass and not the closures. Resource users interviewed in 2010 were supportive of gear restrictions but there was considerable between-community disagreement over the value of specific restrictions. The social-ecological results suggest that increased compliance with gear restrictions is largely responsible for the improvements in reef ecology and is a high priority for future management programs.
Icelandic fisheries have gone through tremendous changes since the 1980s and the gradual implementation of individual transferable quotas. The paper investigates to what extent the power of different stakeholders in the fisheries management system has changed, and examines whether and in which fields enhanced participation is favoured by relevant stakeholder groups. Strengths and weaknesses of participation within the system are scrutinized and alternatives assessed. The analytical framework stems from the concept of adaptive co-management, whereas the empirical data derives from a survey on Icelandic fisheries management among important stakeholder groups. This survey showed that the critique of individual transferable quotas is not homogeneous. Regional differences are present regarding the evaluation of the current regime, but also of proposed alternative management instruments. Overall, more stakeholder participation, especially in data gathering and decision making, is demanded. This has in fact decreased over time. The authors suggest that the perceived shortcomings of the quota system in general and the lack of stakeholder participation in particular, can be addressed by adopting certain elements of adaptive co-management.
Incorporating the perspectives and insights of stakeholders is an essential component of ecosystem-based fisheries management, such that policy strategies should account for the diverse interests of various groups of anglers to enhance their efficacy. Here we assessed fishing stakeholders’ perceptions on the management of Atlantic striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and receptiveness to potential future regulations using an online survey of recreational and commercial fishers in Massachusetts and Connecticut (USA). Our results indicate that most fishers harbored adequate to positive perceptions of current striped bass management policies when asked to grade their state’s management regime. Yet, subtle differences in perceptions existed between recreational and commercial fishers, as well as across individuals with differing levels of fishing experience, resource dependency, and tournament participation. Recreational fishers in both states were generally supportive or neutral towards potential management actions including slot limits (71%) and mandated circle hooks to reduce mortality of released fish (74%), but less supportive of reduced recreational bag limits (51%). Although commercial anglers were typically less supportive of management changes than their recreational counterparts, the majority were still supportive of slot limits (54%) and mandated use of circle hooks (56%). Our study suggests that both recreational and commercial fishers are generally supportive of additional management strategies aimed at sustaining healthy striped bass populations and agree on a variety of strategies. However, both stakeholder groups were less supportive of harvest reductions, which is the most direct measure of reducing mortality available to fisheries managers. By revealing factors that influence stakeholders’ support or willingness to comply with management strategies, studies such as ours can help managers identify potential stakeholder support for or conflicts that may result from regulation changes.
Fishers and divers are the major resource users of Caribbean coral reefs. On Curaçao and Bonaire, reef condition is good relative to the Caribbean average, but fishes and corals have greatly declined over the last few decades. We interviewed 177 fishers and 211 professional SCUBA divers to assess their views on the extent and causes of degradation. Fishers know fish stocks are severely depleted and declining, whereas divers were aware of declines but had “shifted baselines” and consider the reefs healthy. Fishers and divers differ in perceptions of the causes and appropriate remedies for decline. Fishers generally blame external factors such as changes in climate, currents, or industrial fishing offshore, whereas divers primarily blame overfishing and coastal development. Nevertheless, the great majority of both fishers and divers support more management of both fishing and diving. Thus the social climate is ripe for balanced and strong restrictions on both groups for reef recovery and sustainable use. Exclusion of both fishers and divers from protected areas of significant size around the islands would be a major step forward towards the long-term conservation of reef resources.
The implementation of marine protected areas, such as marine reserves and customary fishing areas, is considered an important step toward advancing ecosystem-based management (EBM), but has proven difficult due to resistance from well-organized fishing interests. This raises the question of how the values of less well-organised parties can be brought into the political decision-making process. We summarise the results of a discrete choice survey of the general public in New Zealand that elicits willingness to make tradeoffs among taxes and four socio-ecological attributes: biodiversity, maintenance of Maori customary practices, and restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing. We apply cluster analysis, which provides information about political ‘market shares’ of respondent preferences, and derive estimates of average public willingness to pay for various policy scenarios. Both analyses reveal broad-scale support for conservation of biodiversity and cultural practices, providing quantifiable input from the public in the process of marine space reallocation.
This study has explored perceived crowding of an underwater environment. Two dimensions were assessed: the number of divers seen and the proximity of divers to each other. Data were obtained from a survey of 216 divers who undertook diving in Hong Kong during 2013–14. Photographs depicting four levels of crowding (number of divers) and four levels of diver proximity in different combinations were shown to the respondents for assessing acceptability. Between the two variables, the “number of divers” was the most influential factor to divers' perceived crowding. Divers' begin to feel unacceptably crowded if 7∼8 divers are visible to them at one time. Based on this, it is likely that the usage of Hong Kong diving sites has already exceeded its social carrying capacity. Implications for future research and diving tourism management for Hong Kong diving sites are also discussed in the paper.
Recently an action plan has been put in place off southeastern Portugal, consisting in an offshore aquaculture area off the Armona sandy barrier island, Armona Pilot Production Aquaculture Area (APPAA). The infrastructure was created after the initiative of the Portuguese Government aiming to stimulate local employment opportunities related to seafood production. The APPAA aims to improve resilience of finfish and shellfish production for the future. However, the delimited infrastructure is located nearby some fishery-dependent communities. Therefore, such proximity may cause friction with some fishermen due to the limitations post APPAA development (e.g. may feel their jobs are threatened). In this study, we queried the reasoning rules elicited by local fishing communities and their perceived impact of the APPAA implementation. In that scope, a fuzzy logic expert system approach was used to investigate the interaction between three input variables (namely, ‘availability of fishable area’, ‘navigational disturbance’, and ‘catch variation’) and the output variable (i.e., overall ‘fishing community satisfaction’). The results from the fuzzy logic expert system showed that ‘catch variation’ was the input that most affected ‘fishing community satisfaction’ and seemed to be the one that suffered most changes. The results also show that, for the analyzed years, where the catch was higher, the degree of satisfaction tended to follow the trend, independently of the fishing community. The other two input variables were more conditioned by governmental arrangement (‘availability of fishable area’) and by small-scale fishermen reaction (‘navigational disturbance’). The fuzzy logic expert system proved to be a valuable tool, facilitating the analysis of governance arrangements, particularly those dealing with the interaction between the fisheries–offshore aquaculture system as a whole.