Similar to several other countries in Europe, a policy debate has emerged in Flanders (Belgium) arguing that flood risks should no longer be tackled by water managers alone but should become a shared responsibility between water managers, other governmental actors and citizens. Hence, a form of ‘co-production’ is advocated, whereby both governmental and non-governmental actors participate in bringing flood risk management into practice. This new approach represents a remarkable break with the past, since flood management in Flanders is traditionally based on flood probability reduction through engineering practices. The intended shift in private-public responsibilities can thus be expected to challenge the existing flood policy arrangement. Based on quantitative and qualitative research, this paper compares the attitudes towards individual responsibilities in flood protection among public officials and residents of flood-affected areas in the flood-prone basin of the river Dender. We find that whereas most public officials are in favour of sharing flood risk responsibilities between authorities and citizens, the majority of residents consider flood protection as an almost exclusive government responsibility. We discuss the challenges this discourse gap presents for the pursuit of a co-produced flood risk management and how these can be addressed. It is argued that a policy of co-production should embrace a co-evolutionary approach in which input, output and throughput legitimacy become intertwined.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
This study analyses community perceptions towards wind power using a case study of an operational wind farm (Roskrow Barton, Cornwall) to test current debates about pre- and post-acceptance opinions of affected stakeholders. Community members and affected stakeholders were interviewed to assess perceptions towards the development before and after the wind farm became operational. The results suggest that community perceptions towards the wind farm were influenced by a range of environmental, socio-economic and socio-political variables, but also that community opinion changes considerably over time. Although negative perceptions can be found both pre- and post-installation, collectively the community have become used to the turbines and that attitudes have generally become more favourable. The outcomes add to existing ‘before and after wind turbine’ studies which show that fears of living near a wind farm at least partly dispel over time, although a more nuanced pathway of acceptance emerges than suggested in other studies who suggested a generalised U-shaped development of attitudes. The results from this study suggest more complex, multi-layered and nuanced community responses to wind farms, with slightly different ‘acceptance curves’ for individual areas of concern including visual intrusion, noise, property price impacts, economic benefits to the community, and environmental impacts.
Despite the growing popularity of ecosystem-based management (EBM) in national legislation and in research and institutional literature, there is often an implementation gap ‘on the ground’, impeding widespread adoption in fisheries. This gap reflects in part the differing understandings of EBM held by fishermen and by management institutions. To explore and seek to close this gap, the underlying principles of EBM considered priorities by fishermen were systematically compared with the priorities identified in the published literature. The fishermen's priorities were determined by asking Atlantic Canadian fishermen to identify the EBM principles they consider most important. Four priority principles were identified: Sustainability, Stakeholder Involvement, Develop Long-Term Objectives and Use of All Forms of Knowledge. The latter two were not frequently noted as priorities in the literature, while some literature priorities were less commonly chosen by fishermen, indicating a significant difference in perspectives on EBM. The rationale for fishermen's choice of priorities was explored by analysing the fishery management issues they raised – many directly connected to the above four priorities. In addition, another principle, Commit to Principles of Equity, often arose as an implicit priority among fishermen. We suggest that success in implementation of EBM may depend on reconciling differing priorities among its underlying principles, and combining knowledge and expertise from fishermen with research and institutional sources. The comparative methodology used here, which could be replicated elsewhere, should lead to better recognition of local challenges in EBM implementation and encourage support for EBM, to further its contribution to sustainable fisheries.
The abundance of the eastern Taiwan Strait (ETS) population of the Chinese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis) has been estimated to be less than 100 individuals. It is categorized as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Thus, immediate measures of conservation should be taken to protect it from extinction. Currently, the Taiwanese government plans to designate its habitat as a Major Wildlife Habitat (MWH), a type of marine protected area (MPA) for conservation of wildlife species. Although the designation allows continuing the current exploitation, however, it may cause conflicts among multiple stakeholders with competing interests. The study is to explore the attitude and opinions among the stakeholders in order to better manage the MPA. This study employs a semi-structured interview and a questionnaire survey of local fishers. Results from interviews indicated that the subsistence of fishers remains a major problem. It was found that stakeholders have different perceptions of the fishers’ attitude towards conservation and also thought that the fishery-related law enforcement could be difficult. Quantitative survey showed that fishers are generally positive towards the conservation of the Chinese white dolphin but are less willing to participate in the planning process. Most fishers considered temporary fishing closure as feasible for conservation. The results of this study provide recommendations for future efforts towards the goal of better conservation for this endangered species.
This study assessed the acceptance and awareness of an Australian MPA (Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park) post implementation by recreational fishers using the MPA, and identified factors that influenced the perception of this group towards the MPA. Recreational fishers were interviewed in a multiple-use MPA to investigate their perceptions, attitudes, and support towards the MPA six years after implementation. Almost two thirds of recreational fishers supported the MPA and had positive attitudes towards the concept of MPAs. This is a key result since a similar pre-implementation survey of recreational fishers found only 12% would support the creation of PSGLMP due to fears the MPA would negatively impact their fishing activities and ability to catch fish. However, there was a sub-group of fishers who opposed the MPA and were more inclined to have negative attitudes towards the rationale behind MPAs, despite the common perception that no-take zones were for fisheries management purposes and could increase fish stocks in the MPA. More experienced fishers were inclined to oppose the MPA, as well as fishers who believed management zones did not provide clear rules for activities, penalties for non-compliance were too harsh, or that no-take zones did not increase fish stocks. An important perceived threat to the MPA was from commercial fishing due to perceptions of over-exploitation and issues of non-compliance. In contrast, the majority of recreational fishers did not believe the collective actions of recreational fishers negatively impacted the marine environment and fish stocks, or the number of fish available for capture in the future. An improved understanding of these social aspects is important to target ongoing management in order to increase acceptance, success and long-term existence of MPAs.
Several published studies on beach management have defined sustainable strategies for the maintenance of their recreational capacity. However, coastal geomorphology and evolution have rarely been taken into consideration. To complete these studies, we analyzed the geomorphological characteristics, the users' perception and beach carrying capacity of two coastal stretches. Geomorphological characteristics were obtained from aerial photos and field survey data; beach perception was assessed through questionnaires and interviews while the beach carrying capacity was calculated using two distinct methods. Our results suggest that the physical carrying capacity can be defined using geomorphological analyses, while the effective carrying capacity can be evaluated using the users' perception analysis.
How do fishermen use techniques like venting and recompression to counter barotrauma in reef fish? Awareness, Knowledge and Perceptions of Barotrauma and Barotrauma Mitigation: A survey of Florida Anglers summarizes a statewide survey by Florida Sea Grant extension faculty to better understand angler preference for descending tools and education methods.
As in many developing countries, small-scale fisheries including beach seining contribute significantly livelihoods and food security of coastal communities. Beach seining in Sri Lanka is seasonal mainly during calm season deprived of strong monsoonal winds, and essentially a multi-species fishery. Knowledge about the seasonal occurrence of pelagic species is important to be known for proper planning of the fishing activity, especially due to the reason that beach seine fishers in many parts of Sri Lanka make decisions to attach the cod-end of correct type depending on the target species. The possibility of identifying pattern of seasonal occurrence of target fish species in beach seine fishing sites off the southern region of north-western coast of Sri Lanka was therefore investigated using Self Organizing Maps (SOM). The analysis indicated that beach seine fishers’ local knowledge to predict the occurrence of certain species in the fishing sites to adjust their fishing strategies to target desirable species was consistent with the findings of SOM approach. Consequently, it was concluded that as beach seine fishers use indirect indicators such as colour of sea water and behaviour sea birds predict the species occurrence fairly accurately, their local knowledge can be incorporated in the management planning of beach seine fisheries in the North Western coastal area of Sri Lanka.
This paper investigates the impact of the European Union landing obligation in the Galician (North West of Spain) multispecies small-scale gillnet fishery. By combining results from semi-structured interviews with small-scale fishers and a bioeconomic model, we found that the percentage of discards for small-scale fisheries is usually low, which is consistent with general empirical observations globally but can be high when quotas are exhausted.
Our results also confirm that the landing obligation would generate negative impacts on fishers' activities by investing more time on-board to handle previously discarded fishes, and putting at risk the security of fishers at sea due to full use of allowable storage on-board coupled with often adverse sea conditions in Galician bays. The application of the landing obligation policy to small-scale fisheries would result in short- and long-term losses of fishing days and yields, with high negative impacts on sustainable fisheries such as the Galician multispecies small-scale gillnet fishery. The expected number of fishing days under the landing obligation is estimated to be reduced by 50% during the five years following the implementation of the policy. The future yield (catches) under the landing obligation would be only 50% of catches expected in the absence of the landing obligation, regardless of the total volume of quotas allocated to the fleet.
Understanding how the public perceives the marine environment is a central component of the ecosystem approach. Despite the importance of exploring the links between society and the sea, it is still a relatively unexplored dimension of marine science. This paper presents the results of a novel European survey that explores the values, concerns and aspirations of individuals regarding the marine environment in seven countries across four regional seas. It provides an innovative contribution to the literature by refining our knowledge of how public perceptions on the oceans vary significantly by country, region and by demographic variables such as age and gender. Four issues emerge as important from this survey: (1) Concern about the oceans is variable but generally below other environmental concerns in different countries; (2) Ecosystem services, in particular regulatory, cultural and provisioning services that have broader societal relevance are recognised as important by the public; (3) There is a schism between scientific and public perspectives on the key pressures that affect marine systems; and (4) demographic factors such as age or generation can influence perceptions on marine issues more than the proximity of a community to the coastal environment. Public viewpoints on the oceans will play an important, if yet undetermined, role in supporting reforms such as marine planning, the large scale deployment of marine renewables and marine protected areas that have significant social and economic consequences.