No-fishing zones (NFZs) are increasingly used for managing declining fish stocks internationally and in Sweden. NFZs are ultimately implemented in order to change human behaviour, and acceptability among stakeholders can affect the possibility of their implementation as well as their ecological success. The current study explored the concept of Social Acceptability in relation to the Gålö NFZ by conducting twelve semi-structured interviews with stakeholders. The study found a general acceptance towards the NFZ among the interviewees. Before establishing the NFZ, the area was perceived to have experienced a significant decline of fish stocks due to a high fishing pressure. The area was also regarded to be important to protect since it offers important reproduction opportunities for the target species. The perceived poor state of many fish stocks in the Stockholm archipelago was a reason for supporting NFZs in general. Many interviewees saw however a shortcoming of the NFZ, as it does not offset other possible factors causing declining fish stocks. Strong opposition towards the NFZ was found among some fishing right owners, who felt marginalised in the decision making process and were disappointed with the absence of a follow up dialogue, leading to a lack of trust in management authorities. NFZs also impose large restraint on fishing right owners’ use rights. The Swedish legal context with strong private ownership of waters on the majority of the Swedish east coast, and the legal space in the Swedish Fisheries Act, makes acceptability among fishing right owners important from a management perspective when implementing NFZs. The general support of NFZs found, and also the initial support among some fishing rights owners, speaks for a future use of NFZs if the ecological effects on the target species are found to be significantly positive. A more strategic approach of involving stakeholders, as well as increasing the understanding of the effects on fish stocks by other factors than fishing, would probably improve the acceptability of such areas.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
Florida Reef stakeholders have downplayed the role of anthropogenic climate change while recognizing the reef system’s degradation. With an emphasis on recreational anglers, a survey using contingent valuation methods investigated stakeholders’ attitudes about the Florida Reef, climate change, and willingness to pay for sustainable and local seafood. Angst expressed about acidification and other climate change effects represents a recent shift of opinion. Supermajorities were willing to pay premiums for sustainably harvested and especially local seafood. Regression analysis revealed trust in seafood labels, travel to coral reefs, political orientation, place of birth, and motorboat use as strong, direct predictors of shopping behavior, age and environmental concerns as moderately influential, and income and education as surprisingly poor predictors. Distrust of authority may motivate some stakeholders, but new attitudes about climate change and the high desirability of local seafood offer potential for renewed regional engagement and market-based incentives for sustainability.
Global average sea levels are expected to rise by up to a metre by the end of the century. This long-term rise will combine with shorter-term changes in sea level (e.g. high tides, storm surges) to increase risks of flooding and erosion in vulnerable coastal areas. As communities become increasingly exposed to these risks, understanding their beliefs and responses becomes more important. While studies have explored public responses to climate change, less research has focused on perceptions of the specific risks associated with sea-level change. This paper presents the results of a mental models study that addressed this knowledge gap by exploring expert and public perceptions of sea-level change on the Severn Estuary, a threatened coastal environment in the southwest of the United Kingdom. A model was developed from the literature and expert interviews (N = 11), and compared with public perceptions elicited via interviews (N = 20) and a quantitative survey (N = 359). Whilst we find a high degree of consistency between expert and public understandings, there are important differences that have implications for how sea level risks are interpreted and for what are perceived as appropriate mitigation and adaptation practices. We also find a number of potential barriers to engaging with the issue: individuals express low concern about sea-level change in relation to other matters; they feel detached from the issue, seeing it as something that will happen in future to other people; and many perceive that neither the causes of nor responses to sea-level change are their responsibility. We point to areas upon which future risk communications should therefore concentrate.
There is limited information about Colombian fisheries available from government sources. In consequence, as is the case for many artisanal or subsistence fisheries, fishermen, local leaders, and fisheries experts become a primary source of data for identifying priority issues for management attention. This study describes the problems that currently affect small-scale fishing activity and fishery resources in Colombia, based upon data collected from these main stakeholders. Data from extensive interviews and community meetings were carefully coded to produce a quantitative picture of the conflicts in these artisanal fisheries. Identified issues applied in three ways; across all communities, germane to one coastal area, or peculiar to individual communities. The results present the opportunity to focus management attention on key issues that can be addressed with co-management by communities in cooperation with government.
Public lands provide significant environmental, economic, and social values to society across a range of classifications and tenures. Stakeholders representing multiple interests are presumed to hold different management preferences for these lands. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how stakeholder perspectives can influence place-based management preferences for public lands. We developed a multi-dimensional public land preference scale and used cluster analysis of responses to classify individuals (n = 1507) into stakeholder groups using data collected from a large public participation GIS (PPGIS) survey in Victoria, Australia. We analyzed the results of the two largest stakeholder groups (identified as “Preservation” and “Recreation”) to assess their spatial preferences for public land conservation, access, and development. We developed a method to assess the level of spatial stakeholder agreement, with the results identifying geographic areas of both agreement and disagreement between stakeholder groups. To determine the effects of unequal stakeholder participation in mapping, we performed sensitivity analysis by weighting the responses of the Recreation stakeholder group to approximate the mapping effort of the Preservation stakeholder group. The place-based management preferences changed significantly for conservation/development and improving/limiting public land access, while preferences for increasing/limiting facility development were less sensitive to stakeholder weighting. The spatial mapping of stakeholder preferences appears effective for identifying locations with high potential for conflict as well as areas of agreement, but would benefit from further research in a range of land management applications to provide further guidance on the analysis of stakeholder group responses that result from diverse stakeholder group participation.
Stakeholder participation is an important concept in marine environmental management; thus, their acceptance and opinions might influence policy decision making and effectiveness. This paper explores the factors that affect stakeholders' (traditional ocean users, including fishers and aquaculture farmers) acceptance and conducts an empirical analysis to determine the relationship among stakeholders' perceptions and acceptance. A total of 238 respondents completed a survey that was conducted in six coastal counties in western Taiwan. We used principle component analysis and two logistic regression models for the analysis: one model does not consider perception factors, while the other model estimates perception factors. The empirical results reveal that three perception factors related to the benefits of offshore wind farms significantly affect stakeholders' acceptance. Furthermore, the explanatory power, goodness-of-fit, and the predicted probability are greater when perception factors are considered in the logistic model. As a result, stakeholders' perceptions are important factors that influence their acceptance of OWFs along the western coast of Taiwan. According to our findings, recommendations are offered to resolve the user conflicts regarding OWF turbine construction and operation, including (1) communicating effectively and integrating stakeholder participation and (2) offering benefits to ocean users and local communities.
To determine fishermen’s perspectives on these changes, the Center for American Progress contracted with Edge Research to conduct a survey of New England commercial fishermen in summer 2014. Edge Research completed telephone surveys of nearly 600 permit holders in the northeast multispecies fishery—better known as the groundfishery because it targets bottom-dwelling fish such as cod, haddock, and flounders—as well as the lobster fisheries in Maine and Massachusetts. The results clearly show that although fishermen generally tend to be politically conservative, they believe climate forces such as ocean warming and acidification are not only happening but also rank among the gravest environmental threats to their employment and the future of their industry and their communities.
The designation of marine protected areas (MPAs) may have intense social and economic effects on human communities. Driven by overarching global and European policies and national legislations, current systematic conservation planning in the UK and France requires an ecosystem approach that takes into account not only nature but also the human activities that take place in an area. Here, we identified a set of 64 socioeconomic variables potentially relevant for marine and coastal stakeholders in a European context and a comprehensive set of 20 marine and coastal stakeholder categories. Ninety national organisations in the UK and France belonging to those categories and potentially affected by/interested in the designation of multiple-use MPAs were identified and surveyed. Results show that environmental NGOs, research centres, local councils, managing agencies and statutory nature conservation bodies perceived that they are positively affected by these MPAs, whereas fishers’ organisations, shipping and aggregate industrial organisations and recreational organisations perceived to be chiefly negatively affected by MPAs. On average, the ecological effects of multiple-use MPAs are perceived as ‘largely positive’, though 30% of respondents did not perceive any positive ecological effects from these MPAs. The social, economic and cultural effects of such MPAs are perceived as ‘moderately positive’. Most respondents perceived broad range (>10 km) and permanent ecological, social, economic and cultural effects from multiple-use MPA designation suggesting high societal expectations towards these areas. However, only five variables were perceived to vary in intensity after the designation of multiple-use MPAs: ‘research’, ‘environmental performance by citizens, businesses and towns’, ‘number of green businesses’, ‘tourism’ and ‘economic activities’. The most important ‘social’ variables for stakeholder organisations referred to local populations’ engagement with the MPA, tourism and research. The most important ‘economic’ variables were linked to fishing, shipping and aquaculture activities. These variables highlight relevant topics to be considered in MPA planning, designation and management processes, especially in the UK and France. There were statistically significant differences in the ratings of socioeconomic variables between many organisations belonging to the same intuitive stakeholder categories, suggesting the importance of including as wide a range of stakeholder organisations as feasible in MPA socioeconomic-related processes. Our methods and findings can help to inform and streamline ongoing and future participatory MPA planning, management and monitoring processes in Europe and in other regions with similar socioeconomic characteristics.
While ocean acidification (OA) poses a significant threat to ocean-related ecosystems and communities reliant on marine fisheries, aquaculture, and coral reef systems, limited public understanding and awareness can prevent coastal regions from being able to adequately assess the need for OA adaptation or mitigation. This study assessed public understanding of OA and how social and demographic factors influence the public’s concern for OA. The analysis was based on 311 questionnaires from full-time Alaska residents. The results showed that most Alaskans self-reported to have a basic awareness of OA, and subsequently were able to recognize that CO2 emissions related to human activity are the dominant driver of changing ocean conditions. However, there was a low recognition of how natural variability in the marine environment affects OA, and most respondents were not very confident in their understanding of OA-related science. Moreover, even though many communities in Alaska are reliant on commercial and subsistence fishing activities, the respondents had a low awareness of fisheries-related OA risk. Given the ongoing debate associated with climate change research, evaluating CO2 mitigation efforts through the perspective of OA could give individuals an unbiased way to assess the pros and cons of more intensive efforts to curb CO2 emissions. Furthermore, using OA communication to enhance the understanding of how natural variability influences OA around the state and the potential economic implications for Alaska fisheries would help residents and stakeholders make informed decisions when considering fisheries management plans, food security, and job diversity as OA intensifies. Solidifying the understanding that any reduction in pH and intensification of OA can have implications for marine species that are irreversible on human timescales will reinforce not only that OA is an immediate concern, but also the importance of taking action now.
Improving the social acceptability or ‘social licence’ of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is a key challenge facing countries all around the world. As the world moves slowly towards the establishment of a global network of MPAs, it is increasingly apparent that a greater understanding of social responses to MPAs is required, given they are often met with resistance from local communities. A series of in-depth, semi structured interviews were conducted across coastal users in New South Wales, Australia, including surfers, recreational fishers, professional fishers, spearfishers, walkers, divers, snorkellers, kayakers and other community members. The research identified the values, images and principles at work amongst coastal users to determine the dominant ‘cultural models’ within the community and how these models influenced attitudes towards MPAs. This research indicates that traditional consultation models may not be sufficient to address the full spectrum of community needs, and in fact suggests the need to re-conceive the make -up of ‘the community’ itself. In the context of MPA planning ‘the community’ is not an amalgamation of a range of homogenous stakeholder groups but instead a diverse and complex mix of identities and value systems which are not confined to particular interest groups. Incorporating consideration of the diverse range of values, images and principles found within and across stakeholder groups will require new and innovative approaches to participation and management.