Adrian‘s new paper, Understanding recreational fishers’ compliance with no-take zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, has just been published online in Ecology and Society.
Conservation is mostly about managing people. And ensuring rule compliance is an underpinning factor for effective conservation. However, understanding compliance is no easy task. Few people are willing to share information about deviant behaviour – such as illegal fishing. This paper analyses the extent to which recreational fishermen comply, and why they comply, with no-take zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We discuss tools and provide recommendations to study and manage fishers’ compliance.
The paper is open access, and you can download it here:
ABSTRACT: Understanding fishers’ compliance is essential for the successful management of marine protected areas. We used the random response technique (RRT) to assess recreational fishers’ compliance with no-take zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). The RRT allowed the asking of a sensitive question, i.e., “Did you, knowingly, fish within in a Green Zone during the last 12 months?” while protecting respondents’ confidentiality. Application of the RRT through a survey of recreational fishers indicated that the majority of recreational fishers, 90%, comply with no-take zones. Likewise, most fishers, 92%, reported not personally knowing anyone who had intentionally fished in a no-take zone, indicating that fishers’ perceive high levels of compliance among their peers. Fishers were motivated to comply with no-take zones primarily by their beliefs about penalties for noncompliance, followed by beliefs about the fishery benefits of no-take zones. Results suggest that compliance-related communication efforts by the managing authority have partially succeeded in maintaining appropriate compliance levels and that future efforts should accentuate normative compliance drivers that will encourage voluntary compliance. We conclude that compliance monitoring should be integrated into the adaptive management of the GBRMP and other protected areas; in this case social surveys using the RRT are effective tools.