Advocates of marine biodiversity conservation have intensified their calls for the rapid expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs) across the globe, while researchers continue to examine why some people in affected communities support MPAs and others oppose them. Drawing on an ethnographic study of dispossession and the micropolitics of marine conservation in southeastern Tanzania, this paper examines the local dynamics pertaining to the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MBREMP) in rural Mtwara on Tanzania's border with Mozambique. In-depth interviews with 160 individuals and eight focus group discussions with 48 participants were conducted in four sea-bordering villages. By analyzing the narratives of people living in the MBREMP's catchment area regarding their lived experiences with the MBREMP, the paper highlights inter-village and intra-village similarities and differences in the perceived significance and social impact of the MBREMP. Through narratives, people revealed their feelings of angst, disempowerment and vulnerability, emanating from their awareness of the state-directed dispossession they had experienced. The MBREMP's gendered impact was evident as women frequently blamed the park rangers for making their lives difficult through unreasonable and coercive restrictive practices. The paper argues that to achieve the laudable global goals of marine biodiversity conservation, it is imperative that the social complexities of the local context, livelihood concerns, gender relations, social hierarchies and the diverse perspectives of residents are ethnographically documented and integrated into policies leading to the practice of good governance of MPAs.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
Participatory management is widely recognised as a working method of paramount importance, based on the principles of knowledge sharing, accountability and legitimacy. Hence, it is broadly considered suitable for addressing issues related to the sustainable development of the seafood industry, and specifically, of the aquaculture system. A survey focused on the current EU regulatory framework was carried out to elicit stakeholders' preferences, knowledge and experience on key issues for the development of organic aquaculture, supported by science-based regulations. The survey was completed by 65 stakeholders belonging to several categories, and it was supported by the implementation of the Analytic Hierarchy Process method. Stakeholders' preferences were elicited on organic production methods and control systems, the quality of the environment and organic products, fish health and welfare. The views expressed by the participants revealed both competence and awareness, despite the complexity of the subject. Several ideas and useful suggestions emerged regarding unresolved technical issues. In addition, the need for a targeted communication strategy on the quality of organic aquaculture products and the necessity of fostering European/national programs to support the production and marketing of organic aquaculture products were highlighted.
The marine world is, to many, remote and exotic. For city residents to fully embrace the wonder and beauty of the ocean world, and to actively work on its behalf, it will require emotional connection and caring. There are many different ways to do this and several of the more compelling and creative are described here: using social media to foster a sense of fascination and concern for the great white shark; taking children into the water and challenging them to find, look, touch and learn about the nature there; sending real-time video images from underwater divers to the surface; developing new long term institutions, such as a New York Harbor School and the Billion Oyster Project, to educate and engage residents of all ages. There are now compelling models that other cities can follow to foster this deep sense of emotional connection and caring for the marine realm.
With the increase in development of large marine protected areas (LMPAs) worldwide, there have been calls from social scientists to gather better empirical information about the human dimensions of LMPAs. Of the social research done on LMPAs to date, most has focused on the perceptions of stakeholders closely connected to their implementation, and little research has explored the general public's response. This paper presents the results of a phone survey conducted in the US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to assess residents' knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument—a LMPA designated offshore in 2009. The survey was administered in 2012 to 500 randomly-selected residents from each territory. Findings suggest: (1) public awareness of the Monument prior to the survey was low; (2) residents generally supported designation of the Monument; (3) most residents did not believe that the Monument would affect them or their community; and (4) knowledge and perceptions of the Monument varied between fishing and non-fishing households. This research illustrates that awareness and views differ between stakeholders and those of the general public, which should be used to inform social research on LMPAs and outreach for LMPA managers.
This study explores people's environmental attitudes and motives for putting economic values to marine biodiversity protection. Primary data were collected from a sample of 359 residents in two important Greek ports: Thessaloniki and Volos. Respondents’ environmental attitude was measured with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale. Economic values were derived from contingent valuation survey. Use of appropriate methods revealed three factors of environmental attitudes: man dominate to nature, anti-anthropocentrism and limits to growth. Significant relationships are found between NEP scale factors, socio-economic characteristics and individuals’ opinions about biodiversity utility. Pro-environmental behavior is associated with higher NEP scores. A logistic regression setup the relation between people's willingness to pay (WTP) for marine biodiversity protection with their socio-economic characteristics and PCA results. Significant relationships are found between environmental attitudes, non-use motivations, WTP and ethical motives for species protection. Mean individuals’ WTP for marine biodiversity protection was calculated approximately equal to €29.
The concept of community is often used in environmental policy to foster environmental stewardship and public participation, crucial prerequisites of effective management. However, prevailing conceptualizations of community based on residential location or resource use are limited with respect to their utility as surrogates for communities of shared environment-related interests, and because of the localist perspective they entail. Thus, addressing contemporary sustainability challenges, which tend to involve transnational social and environmental interactions, urgently requires additional approaches to conceptualizing community that are compatible with current globalization. We propose a framing for redefining community based on place attachment (i.e., the bonds people form with places) in the context of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Area threatened by drivers requiring management and political action at scales beyond the local. Using data on place attachment from 5,403 respondents residing locally, nationally, and internationally, we identified four communities that each shared a type of attachment to the reef and that spanned conventional location and use communities. We suggest that as human–environment interactions change with increasing mobility (both corporeal and that mediated by communication and information technology), new types of people–place relations that transcend geographic and social boundaries and do not require ongoing direct experience to form are emerging. We propose that adopting a place attachment framing to community provides a means to capture the neglected nonmaterial bonds people form with the environment, and could be leveraged to foster transnational environmental stewardship, critical to advancing global sustainability in our increasingly connected world.
Given competing objectives vying for space in the marine environment, the island of Bermuda may be an ideal candidate for comprehensive marine spatial planning (MSP). However, faced with other pressing issues, ocean management reform has not yet received significant traction from the government, a pattern seen in many locations. Spatial planning processes often struggle during the proposal, planning, or implementation phases due to stakeholder opposition and/or government wariness to change. Conflict among stakeholders about management reform has also proven to be a deterrent to MSP application in many locations. With these obstacles in mind, a detailed stakeholder survey was conducted in Bermuda to determine awareness, attitudes and perceptions regarding ocean health, threats to ocean environments, the effectiveness of current ocean management, and possible future changes to management. How perceptions vary for different types of stakeholders and how attitudes about specific concerns relate to attitudes about management changes were examined. Overall, the results indicate a high degree of support for spatial planning and ocean zoning and a high level of concordance even among stakeholder groups that are typically assumed to have conflicting agendas. However, attitudes were not entirely homogeneous, particularly when delving into details about specific management changes. For example, commercial fishers were generally less in favor, relative to other stakeholder groups, of increasing regulations on ocean uses with the notable exception of regulations for recreational fishing. Given the results of this survey, public support is likely to be high for government action focused on ocean management reform in Bermuda.
With the growth of smartphone usage the number of social media posts has significantly increased and represents potentially valuable information for management, including of natural resources and the environment. Already, evidence of using ‘human sensor’ in crises management suggests that collective knowledge could be used to complement traditional monitoring. This research uses Twitter data posted from the Great Barrier Reef region, Australia, to assess whether the extent and type of data could be used to Great Barrier Reef organisations as part of their monitoring program. The analysis reveals that large amounts of tweets, covering the geographic area of interest, are available and that the pool of information providers is greatly enhanced by the large number of tourists to this region. A keyword and sentiment analysis demonstrates the usefulness of the Twitter data, but also highlights that the actual number of Reef-related tweets is comparatively small and lacks specificity. Suggestions for further steps towards the development of an integrative data platform that incorporates social media are provided.
Fisheries stock enhancement, the release of hatchery-reared fish into wild fish populations with the aim of improving fisheries, is a common management strategy of variable success that also involves substantial tradeoffs between fisheries management objectives. We conducted an internet-based survey to assess attitudes towards fisheries stock enhancement and other management measures among marine inshore anglers in Florida. A random sample of 200,000 fishing license holders was selected from Florida’s recreational saltwater license holders. The survey received a response rate of 5.2%. The survey was designed to collect information on angler participation, fishing experience, catch preferences and motivations in addition to attitudes toward management options including fisheries stock enhancement. The concepts of recreation specialization and consumptive orientation were used to explore diversity in management perspectives and attitudes towards fish stocking. Hierarchical cluster analysis of five specialization variables was used to identify three groups of inshore anglers. Angler groups had different levels of participation, skill, fishing-related expenditures and management preferences including support for fisheries stock enhancement. Inshore anglers were generally supportive of fisheries stock enhancement, but less so than many alternative management strategies including habitat restoration and traditional bag and minimum size limits. The most specialized anglers showed significantly higher levels of support for stock enhancement and most other management measures than less specialized anglers. Regardless of specialization, anglers were largely unaware of the risks and tradeoffs inherent to stock enhancement.
Planning and management for marine and coastal areas is often contentious, with competing interests claiming their preferences are in the ‘public interest’. Defining the public interest for marine and coastal areas remains a wicked problem, however, resistant to resolution. A focus on more tangible ‘public values’ offers an alternative for policy and planning in specific contexts. However, ambiguity surrounds who or what constitutes the ‘public’, with stakeholder engagement often used as a proxy in marine and coastal research. In this study, the outcomes of participatory processes involving the public from diverse backgrounds and geographical locales were explored. A public participation GIS (PPGIS) survey was undertaken in the remote Kimberley region of Australia to identify the spatial values and management preferences for marine and coastal areas. Similarities and differences between the volunteer public (n = 372) and online panel respondents (n = 206); and for the volunteer public only, differences between residents (n = 118) and non-residents (n = 254) were assessed. Online panelists evidenced lesser quality mapping data and did not provide a reliable means of accessing ‘public’ values. Residents were more likely to map general recreational and recreational fishing values while non-locals were more likely to map biological/conservation and wilderness values. Overall, residents and non-residents were more alike than dissimilar in their mapping of values and management preferences, suggesting that the need to preference local views may be overstated, although there may be differences in policy priorities. Future research should focus on the breadth and representativeness of stakeholder interests to access the views of wider society and hence public values, rather than current approaches where local interests are often the primary focus of participatory stakeholder engagement.