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.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
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.
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.
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.