AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Influences of fisher attitudes and behaviour on regulation non-compliance: A case study from the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand recreational blue cod fishery

by Alyssa S. Thomas

Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Year: 2015
Keywords: Fisheries; Human dimensions; Participation; Adaptive management; Attitudes; Conservation management; Deterrence theory; Drivers of non-compliance; Experience and residency influence; Fisher satisfaction; Fisheries management; Illegal fishing; Indirect questioning; Mixed-methods research; Recreational fishing; Regulation knowledge; Regulatory discards; Sensitive behaviours; Slot-limit; Social psychological models; Violation rates; Voluntary compliance
Record ID: 1297986
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/4269


Although it has been noted that fisheries is 90% managing people, most management regimes focus solely on the other 10%; the biological aspect. Furthermore, despite the growing popularity of recreational fishing and increased awareness of its biological effects, there exists even less literature on the human dimensions in this domain than in commercial fisheries. In New Zealand, the Marlborough Sounds recreational blue cod fishery is strictly regulated, due to its popularity and a top-down management regime, with limited fisher involvement. Despite substantial biological information on the fishery, there is only one piece of human dimensions research, carried out before the current management regime came into force. This thesis responds to calls for greater integration of human behaviour into fisheries analyses and management. Specifically, the aim is to explore fisher attitudes towards and compliance with the fishery regulations. The research presented here is a combination of intercept and online surveys of over 500 fishers and is interdisciplinary in nature. Four related studies, aimed towards publication, provide important insights for a more inclusive management style in the future. The first chapter examines fisher attitudes and the factors shaping them, a poorly understood area. Responses reveal that although overall, fishers were dissatisfied with the current regulations, inexperienced and non-locally-resident fishers display more positive attitudes towards the regulations. The second core chapter examines regulation non-compliance, a worldwide fisheries problem that can undermine the effectiveness of a management regime. As rule-breaking behaviour is often a sensitive behaviour, two indirect methods (Randomized Response and Item Count) are tested against direct questioning in estimating violations of three recreational blue cod fishing regulations. Results show mixed effectiveness for the indirect methods, with a significantly higher estimate of non-compliance estimate obtained for only one of the three regulations. The third core chapter uses structural equation modeling to examine the drivers of non-compliance with the size and daily limits for blue cod. Knowledge of these drivers is essential to increasing voluntary compliance with the regulations and these results demonstrate that social norms are the largest influence for both the regulations. Finally, the fourth core chapter examines the potential effects of the maximum size limit on the number of blue cod discarded as well as fisher satisfaction and compliance. A scenario approach reveals that either increasing or eliminating the maximum size limit could offer significant gains compared with the control scenario. The four chapters contribute to the global literature on subjects including fisher attitudes, estimating sensitive behaviours, drivers of non-compliance, discards in recreational fisheries and natural resource management. Taken together, the results reaffirm the benefits of including the human dimensions in fisheries management regimes. For…