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A whale of a time - stakeholder views on managing the marine environment in the Southwest of England


Abstract and Figures

This qualitative, social science study ‘Cultural values, experiences, identities and capabilities’ was conducted as part of Module 7 in the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP). A major goal was to describe the benefits marine users receive from marine and coastal cultural ecosystem services (CES) in two large scale case regions: the Southwest of England (SW) and the West Coast of Scotland (WCoS). This report focuses on SW stakeholders’ views on the future of the marine environment in the Southwest of England and identifies potential management measures for the Defra Southwest (North Devon) Marine Pioneer area.
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A whale of a time:
Stakeholder views on managing
the marine environment in the
Southwest of England
A report of the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme
Photos - Heather Harris, CEH
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MERP A whale of a time
Suggested citation: Ainsworth, Gillian B. (2019). A whale of a time: stakeholder views on
managing the marine environment in the Southwest of England. A report of
the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme. Centre for Ecology &
Hydrology, Edinburgh, UK.
For any enquiries, please contact Gill Ainsworth at
MERP A whale of a time
Table of Contents
1. Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 5
2. Methods ....................................................................................................................................... 6
2.1 The case study region ............................................................................................................. 6
2.2 Interview materials, sample and analysis ............................................................................... 6
3. Results ......................................................................................................................................... 11
3.1 Places .................................................................................................................................... 11
3.1.1 Most appealing attributes in the local marine environment ............................................ 11
3.1.2 Places visited most often ................................................................................................... 11
3.2 Policy / management options ............................................................................................... 17
3.2.1 Recent positive changes noticed in the local marine environment .................................. 17
3.2.2 Recent negative changes noticed in the local marine environment ................................. 17
3.2.3 Efficacy of current management in addressing concerns about changes noticed ............ 22
3.2.4 Vision for the future of the marine environment .............................................................. 26
3.2.5 Guiding principles to manage the marine environment ................................................... 29
3.2.6 Managing the interests of marine species and habits ....................................................... 35
3.3 Managing the Marine Pioneer .............................................................................................. 41
4. Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 45
5. References .................................................................................................................................. 47
Appendix 1: Summary of interview topics and questions. ................................................................... 49
Appendix 2: Showcard of principles to guide management of the marine environment. ................... 50
Appendix 3: Map 1 showing the Southwest of England. ...................................................................... 51
Appendix 4: Map 2 showing the potential boundary of the Marine Pioneer. ...................................... 52
Appendix 5: Key characteristics of Southwest marine stakeholders interviewed. ............................... 53
Appendix 6: Marine cultural ecosystem benefits codebook. ............................................................... 54
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List of Figures and Tables
Figure 1: The IPBES conceptual framework (Diaz et al. 2015). ............................................................... 9
Figure 2: Conceptual framework for cultural ecosystem services (Fish et al. 2016). ............................. 9
Table 1. Most common appealing characteristics of the local marine environment. .......................... 12
Figure 3: Maps of places frequently visited and changes noticed by tourism/leisure/recreation and
local resident stakeholders. .................................................................................................................. 13
Figure 4: Maps of places frequently visited and changes noticed by provisioning stakeholders......... 14
Figure 5: Maps of places frequently visited and changes noticed by regulatory stakeholders (#1-4). 15
Figure 6: Maps of places frequently visited and changes noticed by regulatory stakeholders (#5-8). 16
Table 2. Most common positive changes noticed in the local marine environment. .......................... 18
Table 3. Most common negative changes noticed in the local marine environment. ......................... 20
Table 4. Perceptions about the efficacy of current marine management. ........................................... 23
Table 5. Vision for the future of the local marine environment. .......................................................... 27
Figure 7: Preferences regarding guiding principles for managing the marine environment................ 31
Table 6. Important guiding principles and related themes expressed by interviewees ....................... 32
Table 7. Representing the interests of marine species and habitats within management decisions. . 37
Table 8. Management outcomes to benefit marine species and habitats. .......................................... 39
Table 9. Perceptions about the Marine Pioneer and how it should be managed. ............................... 43
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This report was prepared by Dr Gill Ainsworth (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) using data
collected as part of the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme which was funded by the UK’s
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (Defra) under grant number NE/L003082/1. The project was one of several inter-related
ecological and social science studies projects conducted within Module 7 ‘Understanding trade-offs
to maximise the benefits from living marine natural capital’ which was overseen by Prof Mike Heath
at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. This project was conducted under the overall guidance of
Dr Juliette Young and Dr Francis Daunt (CEH Edinburgh) and Dr Jasper Kenter at the Scottish
Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and University of York. Dr Gill Ainsworth and Mr Seb O’Connor
(SAMS and University of Edinburgh) developed the broader research program, conducted interviews
and analysed data for their respective interviews. The author is sincerely grateful to all the
interviewees for their contribution to this research as well as to Mrs Heather Harris and Ms Paulette
Burns (CEH), and Mr Andy Crabb (SAMS) for their roles in filming and creating the documentary.
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1. Introduction
This qualitative, social science study ‘Cultural values, experiences, identities and capabilities’
was conducted as part of Module 7 in the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP). A major
goal was to describe the benefits marine users receive from marine and coastal cultural ecosystem
services (CES) in two large scale case regions: the Southwest of England (SW) and the West Coast of
Scotland (WCoS).
Several major outputs have already been delivered from this non-monetary valuation project
including a documentary film and two published articles. The film, ‘Cultural Values of UK Seas’,
represents stakeholder views from both the SW and WCoS regions and can be viewed here. The film
was shown during a marine stakeholder workshop held in Glasgow in October 2018 where it was
integrated with data from other Module 7 projects by means of a deliberative stakeholder evaluation.
The aim of this workshop was to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between
policy-making and marine ecosystem services by 1) identifying which marine ecosystem services
stakeholders value most and describing how these services may be affected by projected changes
under four UK National Ecosystem Assessment scenarios (UK NEA 2014; Church et al. 2014; Haines-
Young et al. 2011); and 2) to highlight shared values and areas of competing interest among
stakeholders and identify appropriate socio-ecological responses to projected changes in marine
ecosystem services to assist with the development of regional marine management strategies.
Analysis of the workshop findings are ongoing at the time of writing (Kenter et al. Forthcoming).
Findings from this qualitative study have also been investigated: 1) to characterise the key
marine ecosystem services within the two case study sites, and how they are reflected in the cultural
values, places, practices, identities, experiences and capabilities derived by marine stakeholders in
those areas (Ainsworth et al. 2019); and 2) to recognise the intrinsic value of non-human species in
the marine environment (O’Connor & Kenter 2019). The film and associated publications can inform
the design of marine management in the UK and ensure different community voices are represented
more effectively when policy options are being considered, alongside ecological and economic
This report focuses on SW stakeholders’ views on the future of the marine environment in the
Southwest of England and identifies potential management measures for the Defra Southwest (North
Devon) Marine Pioneer area. This report aims to describe stakeholder views about potential marine
management options and enable future deliberation on those options. Section 2 of the report
describes important socio-economic information about the case study region and the methods used
to conduct this study. Section 3 presents key findings regarding stakeholders’ views about their
preferred places, recent changes they have experienced in their local marine environment, opinions
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about how to manage their local marine area and suggestions for how they would like to see the
Marine Pioneer managed in the future. Section 4 presents conclusions based on these findings.
2. Methods
2.1 The case study region
The Southwest of England (SW) was selected as a case study region because the area contains
numerous coastal settlements with diverse and nationally important socio-ecological characteristics
which were deemed to provide rich material regarding marine users’ shared values and competing
interests. This site presents various management challenges including changing regulatory
frameworks for fisheries quotas, and potentially negative interactions between fisheries and sea-
angling activities. The study of these socio-ecological characteristics can inform marine-related
policies and practices elsewhere in the UK
For example, the Celtic Sea includes the three largest fishing ports in England and Wales.
Shellfish aquaculture is increasing in importance regionally, with the largest offshore mussel farm in
Europe off Lyme Bay. Most southwest ports operate wildlife watching and sea angling trips, especially
during the summer. There is also renewable energy development, shipping, recreational diving and
boating as well as considerable use of the region’s beaches by residents and tourists alike. The UK
sector of the Celtic Sea contains the government’s South West Marine Plan Area, and nested within
this are numerous conservation zones, including the Defra Southwest Marine Pioneer (North Devon).
The Defra North Devon Marine Pioneer is an area of the Celtic Seas that joins the existing
North Devon Biosphere Reserve along the coast and extends to approximately 20 nautical miles
beyond the island of Lundy. Defra chose the Marine Pioneer in 2016 as part of its 25 Year Environment
Strategy to deliver growth in our natural environment and in the social and economic wellbeing of the
North Devon area. It aims to explore how marine natural capital can best be managed for the benefit
of the environment, economy and people. The pioneer is led by the Marine Management Organisation
in conjunction with various project partners including the South West Partnership for Environmental
and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP); WWF UK SEAS and Natural England; and the Devon and Severn
Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) and Blue Marine Foundation (North Devon
Biosphere 2019).
2.2 Interview materials, sample and analysis
Interview materials were designed to reveal non-monetary values regarding benefits derived
by marine users from ecosystem services in the marine environment following Gould et al. (2015) and
Young et al. (2018). Materials included an interview guide, a showcard and two maps.
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The interview guide included an introduction describing the aims of the project and a brief
description of the Marine Pioneer, as well as the semi-structured questions. Here the focus is on
questions relating to SW interviewees’ perceptions about (see Appendix 1): preferred places (Q2a,b)
(presented in Section 3.1); recent changes to the local marine environment (Q5a) (Section 3.2.1 to
3.2.2); current and future local marine management (Q5b,c) (Section 3.2.3 to 3.2.4); preferred guiding
principles for managing the local marine environment (Q5d) (Section 3.2.5); managing the interests of
marine species and habitats (Q5e,f) (Section 3.2.6); and management of the Marine Pioneer (Q5g,h)
(Section 3.3).
The showcard included a list of 15 transcendental values (Kenter et al. 2015; Raymond &
Kenter 2016), or guiding principles, relating to five value clusters that can help predict pro-
environmental attitudes and behaviour (Stern et al. 1998). These principles were presented in random
order and interviewees were asked to discuss any that stood out in relation to managing the marine
environment (Appendix 2).
Map 1 depicted an area of the southwest of England including Somerset, Devon and Cornwall
using a screenshot from Google Maps (Appendix 3). Interviewees used different coloured pens to mark
on the map the places they visit most frequently (blue ink), as well as where they had noticed any
recent positive (green ink) and negative (red ink) changes in their local marine environment. Map 2
showed the potential boundary of the Marine Pioneer along the North Devon coast (Appendix 4). It
was shown to interviewees after asking whether they were previously aware of the Pioneer (Q5g) and
prior to asking their perceptions about the Pioneer and how it should be managed (Q5h).
Interviewees were identified from an elaborate stakeholder analysis which involved
identifying key stakeholders through internet searches, past projects and snowballing whereby
identified stakeholders recommended additional potential participants. The final sample was
purposively selected to maximise representation across diverse interests and to ensure ‘forgotten
voices’ (e.g. those who are not typically included in management decision-making processes such as
local residents) were represented. People were approached for interview based on their knowledge
or involvement in relevant marine industries or sea user groups as well as trying to ensure that we
captured as full a range of views and values as possible. People were intentionally selected who were
known to be engaged in, care about, or impacted by the marine management process, and who
represented a range of views on and interests in marine resource use, management and conservation.
Interview materials were tested during two pilot interviews conducted in WCoS and required
no changes. Prior to their interview, all interviewees received interview materials in advance to enable
familiarisation with the information presented and to consider their responses. They signed a consent
form allowing their interview to be video recorded as an accurate record of what was discussed. This
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recording is kept confidential to the research team, except for those short extracts used in the film.
No statements are directly attributed to any individual in the written project outputs and responses
were analysed together with those of other participants. Interviews were filmed by a team of
professional film-makers from CEH and SAMS.
This report concerns data from 18 SW interviews conducted in June 2017 with people from
Devon (D) and Cornwall (C) aged between 20 to 70+. In total, four women and 16 men were
interviewed: most interviews were conducted with a single individual, whereas one included a married
couple and another included two men. Several interviewees conducted multiple marine-related
professions or activities, therefore are categorised on their primary or preferred activity: eight
regulatory (R) representatives (e.g. fisheries authorities, environmental non-government
organisations, policy-makers, strategic partnerships, scientists); five provisioning (P) (e.g. inshore and
offshore fisheries); four tourism/leisure/recreation (TLR) (e.g. wildlife tourism, diving, angling); and
one local resident (LR) who participated in various marine/coastal activities (see Appendix 5 for key
characteristics of the marine stakeholders interviewed). Two interviewees were related (father and
son) and most knew (of) each other through living in small, tightly knit, coastal communities.
Interview footage was professionally transcribed and textual transcriptions were imported
into NVivo 11 (QSR International Pty) for coding and analysis. Data was analysed with respect to the
relationship between ecosystem services, cultural values and human wellbeing building on two
conceptual frameworks: the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Conceptual Framework (Diaz et al. 2015) (Figure 1) and Fish et al.’s (2016)
conceptual framework for cultural ecosystem services (Figure 2), which was developed as part of the
UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) follow-on (UK NEA 2014; Church et al. 2014). Both
frameworks depict feedback loops whereby nature and culture shape and enable each other. Here,
benefits are experiences, identities and capacities derived from interactions between human
activities/practices and ecosystems.
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Figure 1: The IPBES conceptual framework (Diaz et al. 2015).
Figure 2: Conceptual framework for cultural ecosystem services (Fish et al. 2016).
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Members of the project development team created a ‘marine cultural ecosystem benefits
codebook’ based on these two frameworks that included thematic sub-codes they created based on
recurring themes identified in the interviews (Appendix 6). This codebook was used to sort concepts
within the interview text according to these sub-codes. Given the strong relationships between
themes included in the two frameworks, many statements were coded under more than one sub-
code. For example, the following text We get a massive variety of wildlife here, and it's the wildlife
really that ticks all the boxes for me was coded under the ‘aesthetic pleasure’, ‘variety’ and ‘effects of
nature on quality of life’ sub-codes. Text coded within each sub-code could then be quantified and
cross-tabulated in NVivo to identify common themes.
To analyse verbal responses to all questions, statements were cross-tabulated against the sub-
codes from the codebook in NVivo to explore perceptions about the management of anthropogenic
drivers (e.g. degradation of habitats or species) and natural drivers (e.g. natural climate and weather
patterns). Regarding questions relating to changes noticed in the local marine environment,
photographs taken of interviewees’ marked up maps are also presented (Map 1).
Key themes reported in the results are not weighted in terms of importance but are based on
the number of interviewees who directly mentioned or inferred a theme in respect to understanding
cultural ecosystem services. Quantified results are presented in tables showing the most frequently
occurring codes and sub-codes relating to interviewees’ responses to individual interview questions.
Examples of interviewees’ responses are also provided and are loosely grouped according to key
In accordance with ethical clearances obtained and assurances given prior to interviews,
results are supported by interviewee comments or quotations which are anonymised using
pseudonyms and generic profession (e.g. TLR#1’ is a tourism/leisure/recreation interviewee).
Interviewees expressed their own opinions and values and did not necessarily reflect any
organisational or policy perspective, although they often also conveyed values they believed to be
held by other people.
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3. Results
3.1 Places
3.1.1 Most appealing attributes in the local marine environment
All interviewees felt a strong sense of place in their local marine environment which was
directly related to: an intrinsic value for diverse coastal and marine wildlife species, habitats and
ecosystems; the possibility to have stimulating experiences while conducting a variety of activities
(e.g. wildlife watching, water sports, fishing, underwater photography, citizen science activities,
botany), in attractive, ‘unspoiled’ places; and positive physical and mental wellbeing (Table 1).
‘It's the huge diversity of wildlife that we have here, ranging from humpback whales to jellyfish,
to sunfish, to leatherback turtles. We get a massive variety of wildlife here, and it's the wildlife really
that ticks all the boxes for me and you never know what you're going to see when you're out on the
ocean’ (TLR#2).
It's just unique. It's one of the few places where you can go, there's no phone reception,
beautiful. And you just, you're back at one with nature. You stand there and, it's not an eerie silence,
but it's quiet, and it's a nice kind of quiet. And you can just sit back and look around you, and you can
go “Actually, this is home, this is beautiful, this is wildlife at its finest. You're one to one, it's just you
and what you see. And what someone else sees is completely different to what you see and how you
interpret it’ (P#1).
3.1.2 Places visited most often
The North Devon-based TLR and LR interviewees tended to visit areas along the coast from
Minehead (Somerset) to Hartland Point (North Devon), whereas the Cornwall-based TLR interviewees
visited areas all around the Devon and Cornwall coast (Figure 3). The five provisioning interviewees
also tended to use the North Devon coast, and the distances they travelled offshore and places they
visited around the coast were related to whether they were hand/static or mobile fishers and the size
or type of fishing boat they used. For example, a mobile fisher (P#3) travelled all around the SW,
whereas a hand/static fisher (P#2) tended to frequent areas close to home (Figure 4). Regulatory
interviewees travelled the furthest distances and visited the largest variety of sites compared with
other kinds of interviewees (Figures 5 and 6).
Nature (15)
intrinsic value (10)
The clarity of water, relatively warm water temperatures and diverse geographic
features around Lundy Island attracts diverse wildlife species (e.g. fish, seals)
(TLR#1; P#1);
Unique high tidal range (P#1; P#3; P#5; R#1);
Varied coastline with a mix of habitats (e.g. cliffs, moors, valleys, estuary, sea,
sand and pebble beaches, rocky shores) (LR#1; P#3; P#5; R#2);
Large diversity of marine/coastal wildlife and plants (e.g. humpback whale
(Megaptera novaeangliae), jellyfish (Medusuzoa sp), sunfish (Mola mola),
leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), seals (Phocidae sp), fish, lobster
(Nephropidae), nudibranchs (Nudibranchia), sea anemone (Actiniaria sp),
coloured sea sponge (Porifera sp), sea fans (Alcyonacea sp), dead man’s fingers
(unspecified), tubularia, harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and other
cetaceans, orchids such as marsh helleborines (Epipactis palustris) and spoonbills
(Platalea leucorodia) (TLR2; TLR#3: R#6);
Large network of highly protected marine areas (e.g. Lundy) (R#8; P#1);
Protecting the southwest populations of seabirds, including breeding colonies
around the cliffs and marine areas (e.g. where birds preen, loaf and feed) (R#3);
Unspoiled marine environment with diverse marine life and habitats (e.g. wrecks,
reefs) makes it a very attractive place for diving (TLR#3; P#4; R#4).
ecosystems (8)
biodiversity (6)
biocultural diversity (6)
Experiences (12)
aesthetic pleasure (10)
variety (8)
curiosity (6)
Identities (10)
sense of place (9)
Human wellbeing (10)
physical and mental wellbeing (7)
Nature’s benefits to people (8)
effects of nature on quality of life (8)
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3.2 Policy / management options
3.2.1 Recent positive changes noticed in the local marine environment
The most common positive changes described by interviewees (Figures 3-6) were linked to the relationship
between exclusion and restoration of habitats and ecosystem structure and function. Examples given of activities
relating to positive changes included designation of marine conservation zones, implementation of no take zones,
improved fisheries and farming practices and management of some recreational activities. These, along with concepts
such as intrinsic value, stakeholder cooperation and systems of property and access rights, were viewed as beneficial
for wildlife populations. A reduction in beach litter was positively linked to an increase in community beach cleaning
programs along the coastline (Table 2).
‘Lyme Bay has seen a ban on mobile fishing gear and that ban has made a fantastic change to the seabed
marine life occurring on rocks, because those scallop dredgers were impinging on rocky habitats and were taking away
long-lived, slow-growing species. Because of legislation that has now stopped, except perhaps for a few pirates, and
the seabed is recovering’ (R#4).
‘A really, really, really positive one is I dived in Lee Bay a few weeks ago, and I actually saw, in one dive, which
has never happened locally to me before, three crayfish, or crawfish as people call them. And they were quite good-
sized ones. And to see three in one dive… was spectacular... Our water does seem quite clean…’ (TLR#3).
3.2.2 Recent negative changes noticed in the local marine environment
In relation to negative changes reported (Figures 3-6), strong links were identified between degradation of
habitats or species, decreased ecosystem structure and function, presence of built infrastructure and pollution (e.g.
coastal erosion, nutrient run-off, damage caused by extreme weather events):
‘I am noticing some changes as a result of climate change: the amount of sediment moving about the shore is
hugely greater than I noticed 10 years ago, and it's because of the extreme weather instances we're getting’ (R#5).
Changes were also connected to activities perceived as being intensive or destructive (e.g. dredging, mineral
extraction, over-fishing, water sports), a need to maintain physical, energy and livelihood security and perceived lack
of cooperation between stakeholders (Table 3):
‘We've seen a massive increase in jet ski activity here in the last five years. That didn't used to be allowed in
the harbour at all, and now there's a commercial company and all sorts of visiting craft. So, jet skis we feel have a
negative impact on the wildlife that we're seeing, especially seals’ (TLR#2).
drivers (13)
exclusion and restoration of
habitats (8)
Communities along the coast are organising beach cleans to help the environment (e.g.
Woolacombe (D) was awarded Britain’s best beach in 2015) (P#1);
Less beach litter (e.g. due to greater respect for the marine environment, increase in community
beach cleansing programmes) (P#4);
People are respecting Lundy island (D) more (P#1);
Clovelly Bay (D) is now a breeding bay for herring due to sustainable management practices
Herring fishing has improved significantly in Clovelly Bay (D) due to sustainable management
practices (P#5);
No take zones around Lundy (D) provide safe breeding habitat for local marine species (e.g.
lobster, crab) (P#5);
Lundy (D) marine environment is improving (P#5; R#4);
Changes in geomorphology to the estuary at Crowe Point and Crow Neck (D) which no longer
require management interventions (R#1);
Improvements to management of Braunton Burrows (D) are causing the site to return to
favourable condition, with some species recovering (R#1);
Designation of MCZs in conjunction with local people should contribute beneficially to the area
in future (R#1);
Creation of new saltmarshes and habitats in the upper part of the Torridge estuary (D) (R#1);
Access to the marine environment is increasing which can positively affect people’s health and
wellbeing (R#2);
Land conditions on island networks for seabird colonies has improved and seabird populations
are benefitting (R#3);
Protection zones with no trawl areas around Lundy (D) and the Eddystone Lighthouse (C) are
allowing muddy gravel communities and reef habitats to recover (R#4);
pollution of soil, water or air (6)
Nature (11)
ecosystem structure and
functioning (7)
intrinsic value (6)
biodiversity (3)
systems and other
indirect drivers (9)
systems of property and access
rights (6)
cooperation (5)
Recovery of seabed marine life occurring on rocks in Lyme Bay (D / Dorset) due to a ban on
mobile fishing gear (R#4);
A breach in Horsey Island bank (D) has resulted in an unexpected saltmarsh which is attracting
visitors and ornithologists (R#5);
Better catchment management can help with flood protection and mitigation by slowing and
reducing quantity of water flowing into rivers (R#7);
Sightings of orcas in the last 4 or 5 years around Lundy island (D) (TLR#1);
Coasteering around Newquay (C) is now occurring in sheltered waters away from the two main
kittiwake colonies, providing employment and education for people (TLR#2);
Water quality/cleanliness has improved on mainland beaches and estuaries (e.g. due to
European legislation, local management measures such as sewage being discharged into the sea
instead of the estuaries, removal of grazing cows from river banks, china clay waste no longer
being disposed of (e.g. in St Austell Bay, Sth Cornwall) and better management of upper river
catchments (R#4; R#7; TLR#1);
Improved water quality (e.g. in the Bristol Channel and on the east side of Lundy island [D]) is
beneficial for biodiversity (e.g. increased numbers of marine mammals visiting and over-
wintering in the Lundy area; Grey Mullet populations are no longer found around sewerage
outfalls, therefore are less accessible to shore anglers and are more stable) (TLR#4);
drivers (15)
degradation of habitats or species (10)
Scientific studies have demonstrated that the level seabed including outer Plymouth (D) has
been changed as a result of heavy mobile fishing gear from a community of quite often long-
lived, slow-growing species to a community which is dominated by short-lived easily settled
worms (R#4);
Increase in presence of invasive species such as Slipper Limpets and Harpoon Weed
(seaweed) occurring along the south coast (D) (R#5);
Extreme weather events related to climate change linked to increased sediment movement
and mussel debris found on the seashore as well as seal strandings (D) (R#5);
Impacts of global warming related to changes in species encountered (e.g. stormy summers
lead to dirty water which deters bait fish - less bait fish availability linked to fewer sightings
of mackerel and gannet) (P#5);
Development of tidal lagoons in the Bristol Channel is happening too quickly without
understanding potential impacts (R#6);
Issues of coastal change and beach erosion impacting on built infrastructure around
Penzance (C), Sidmouth (D), Torcross (D) and Slapton (D) (R#2);
Braunton Marsh (D) is seriously threatened by inundation due to the sea wall being breached
Significant increase in jet ski activity around Newquay (C) in last five years negatively
impacting on wildlife such as seals (TLR#2);
Any long term decline in the marine environment, the zones of habitats and species, will
eventually have knock on effects in the fishing industry, for example in the Irish Sea whitefish
stocks have been over-exploited and significant damage to the seabed has resulted in a
strong, profitable nephrops fishery which is at the bottom of the food chain and vulnerable
to collapse (R#6);
Overfishing of lobster along the North Devon coast resulting in increased numbers of pots
potentially leading to depleted stocks and a financially unviable fishery for smaller boats
intensification or abandonment (8)
pollution of soil, water or air (8)
Nature (12)
ecosystem structure and functioning (9)
intrinsic value (6)
systems and
other indirect
drivers (12)
systems of property and access rights (8)
cooperation (8)
Increase in number of domestic dogs being exercised on beaches is negatively impacting on
wildlife and farm animals (R#5);
Overfishing of migratory fish elsewhere impacts on population availability (P#5);
Possibility of mineral extraction around Gwithian to St Agnes (C) will stir up sediment
including DTDs and PCBs which may impact on the food chain for Bottlenose Dolphin
(Tursiops truncatus) (TLR#2);
Increased nutrients in the Bristol Channel has detrimentally impacted upon marine life
around Lundy (D) over the past 30 years or so (R#4);
Coastal erosion is occurring around the Northern Burrows (D) landfill site which his becoming
exposed and creating problems (R#1);
Whelk bait left on the seabed north of Lundy (D) impacts detrimentally on the seabed and
should be brought back to shore, for example large numbers of dead starfish seen in
Carmarthen Bay (South Wales) associated with whelking (P#3);
Marine litter is a significant problem despite local communities carrying out beach cleans
because the problem needs to be dealt with at source (R#7);
Poor water quality in the Taw-Torridge estuary (D) related to algal blooms (eutrophication)
(e.g. increase in presence of goutweed [Aegopodium sp] and Enteromorpha sp) (R#1);
Relationship between Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) and fishing
industry representatives has deteriorated due to government-imposed changes to fisheries
management (i.e. IFCA is viewed more as a regulator than support agency) (R#8).
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3.2.3 Efficacy of current management in addressing concerns about changes noticed
Interviewees’ perceptions about the efficacy of current marine management most frequently
related to aspects of institutions, governance systems and other direct drivers. Common themes
included how well systems of property and access rights and associated rules were being managed
and the ability for stakeholders to have a say in decision-making processes (Table 4).
Those working in a regulatory role tended to be more positive about current management
efficacy than the provisioning and tourism/leisure/recreation stakeholders, reflecting the importance
of being directly involved in the development of management processes. Specific positive examples
cited included the growing network of marine conservation zones and protected areas and the
positive consequences of increased participation of multi-sectoral stakeholders in management
planning meetings.
‘There's been a real increase in the number of stakeholder meetings the last 10 years. All of a
sudden people have been brought together, probably initially kicking and screaming from different
aspects of conservation, commerce, industry to try and understand where they're coming from and
what matters to them. And I think the fact that they're all talking and they're all seeing each other's
point of view… has made a terrific difference to being able to implement protection measures which
are accepted even if they're not liked very often’ (R#4).
There was some dissatisfaction across all interviewees, but provisioning stakeholders
expressed negative perceptions more than others. Adverse comments often related to the challenges
of implementing and enforcing management systems due to lack of economic and staffing resources
(e.g. capacity of regulatory bodies to consult directly with stakeholders across the region) and this was
sometimes related to perceptions about poor relationships between regulatory and other kinds of
stakeholders. A lack of relevant scientific evidence to support fishing restrictions on key species
populations was also cited as problematic.
‘Totally, totally gutted by it, dismayed by it. When I first started fishing 30 odd years ago… we
could pick up the phone and speak to DEFRA… we could talk about things, and they would give you the
information you needed, there was a lot more friendly banter… Yes, we had to respect the MMO,
definitely at the time. Now, it's just, them and us. I had a call this week from a young lady, "We're not
going to tell you anything on the phone, your job is to look at the computer and find it out yourself."
That's the sort of way we are now, and yet, you know, we try to support the MMO, especially in North
Devon, because we've been really, really affected by a lot of their policies, and we spent hours and
hours at meetings, and nothing changes. So, for me, on a personal note, it's at an all-time low’ (P#3).
systems and
other indirect
drivers (16)
systems of property and access rights
Positive examples:
Changing attitudes among stakeholders towards environmental management due to
increasing frequency of and participation in multi-sectoral stakeholder meetings to
understand different perspectives, needs and goals (R#4);
Network of marine conservation zones and protected areas, including no take zones, is
beneficial for species recovery and for the wider environment (R#6; TLR#3).
The process has started of implementing comprehensive or integrated management
processes (e.g. inter-linking land and sea management) (R#7);
We are moving in the right direction and a lot of positive things are happening. Marine
planning is in its infancy but when that comes into force it will offer something tangible and
will hopefully provide clear guidance. Still awaiting Defra’s 25-year environment plan, but
the Pioneer Projects are asking the right questions about what effective management might
look like (R#8);
With the notion of natural capital, ideas are coalescing around the importance of the
natural environment for its own sake but also how it underpins the economy, human health
and wellbeing (R#7);
It’s a lot stronger and better than it used to be. Considerable time and effort being invested
into bringing in management measures and enforcing them. In most communities, 95% of
the population is industry compliant (R#8);
Marine management is very good within the tourism sector. Good relationships and
communication between the tourism and regulatory sectors (TLR#1);
Most recreational anglers welcome new legislation to protect bass stocks although there is
a perception among them that it is the commercial fishing fleet which is having most
significant impact on populations and that recreational anglers have been targeted too
severely (TLR#4).
rules, norms, legislation, treaties (10)
performance (9)
cooperation (7)
legitimacy and voice (6)
economic policies (5)
accountability (4)
Human wellbeing
action and participation in society (4)
physical, energy and livelihood security
drivers (9)
protection of habitats or species (5)
Living in balance
and harmony
with Mother
Earth (8)
relationship with wider human
community (7)
Negative examples:
Management is a slow, iterative process (R#1);
North Devon receives little attention due to there being less activity and few serious threats
compared with the south coast, nevertheless those threats are common to other areas (e.g.
coastal development, fisheries management, economic activity) (R#1);
Appledore shipyard is a flag of pride in the area, and used to be a thriving business but it
now struggles from year to year depending on what contracts it can get (R#1);
MPAs need to be in the right places and include the right species (e.g. seabirds), properly
managed and adequately monitored to ensure they deliver appropriate outcomes (R#3);
Marine plans need to consider the requirements of seabirds and other mobile species
which are not always protected by individual sites (R#3);
At the moment, marine management is too big a brief for the small number of local
authority staff members who are responsible for it (in North Devon) (R#5);
Brexit may have a detrimental impact on fisheries and conservation management if the UK
loses benefits arising from EU policies and legislation (e.g. aspects of the Common Fisheries
Policy) (R#6);
Significant deterioration in the relationship between local fishers, Defra and the MMO due
to a perceived lack of policy support, engagement and genuine consultation (P#3);
Available scientific evidence does not match up with some fishers’ experiences regarding
key fish populations (e.g. sea bass [Dicentrarchus labrax], spurdog [Squalus sp]) resulting in
precautionary quota cuts and frustration among fishers (P#3);
Need for appropriate scientific data on key fish populations (e.g. sea bass, spurdog,
salmonids) (P#1; P#3; R#2);
Little flexibility by IFCA regarding some management strategies (e.g. restrictions on
hand/static fishers using moored nets to catch fish) despite consultation with stakeholders
Fisheries officers (IFCA) rarely visit and management decisions are made without consulting
directly with fishers about local conditions (P#5; P#1);
There needs to be more community involvement and agreed collective action for
management to work more effectively (P#1).
Potential restriction of access to wildlife sites (e.g. through wildlife tourism operator
licenses) is concerning due to their prohibitive cost which is passed onto passengers,
making wildlife experiences less affordable (TLR#2).
MERP A whale of a time
3.2.4 Vision for the future of the marine environment
The most frequently mentioned themes regarding interviewees’ visions for the future
included more sustainable management and better protection of the marine environment for example
through multiple small-scale, no-take zones or marine conservation areas.
‘So, we really want to see a healthy marine environment, first and foremost, with well-
managed activities, well-managed fisheries and recreational activities so that activities are sustainable
and allow the natural environment to thrive and recover where it needs to. So that's the general
principle for the whole of the marine ecosystem: we'd like to see a strong healthy ecosystem that's
resilient to some of the changes that we think might be coming. And also specifically looking at our
seabirds, we want to see healthy seabird colonies that are protected from disturbing activities: the
birds receive that sort of statutory protection as well, so that they can have the means of being able
to respond to the pressures that might come in the future. And that they've got safe and plentiful
feeding grounds out at sea, so they can breed successfully and continue to thrive’ (R#3).
Protection of marine users’ livelihoods and of ecosystems, habitats and species were often
mentioned as important related advantages arising from good management practices. For several,
this would require appropriate management of all activities and practices that impact on the marine
environment for the benefit of multiple interests (Table 5):
‘There's been a lot of talk of putting another MCZ up the coast here, from Hartland, I think it's
up to Foreland Point. And as good as it sounds, that would kill a lot of local jobs, which we don't want
to happen. Lundy's doing a brilliant job. Its providing very good stocks for fish, the lobsters and crabs
inside the no-take zone are loving life, so the divers tell us, they are happily swimming around, so
Lundy's doing a brilliant job. There just needs to be, it's more on the litter side that we could, that we
need to improve. And more on the beach cleaning, but we need more of the supermarkets to change
their habits’ (P#1).
governance systems
and other indirect
drivers (18)
systems of property and access
rights (10)
Working with the community to manage sustainable development and growth (R#1);
Try to facilitate enjoyment of the coast by as many people as possible in a sustainable way (R#2;
Existing and proposed marine protected areas are designated and protected through current
legislation. These form the bedrock for wider, ecosystem-based management of the marine
environment (R#6);
We’ve got a very good environment here (within the Newquay and the Gannel MCZ [C]). We
would like to see the area exactly as it is now, with no changes. The MCZ is the first step in
protecting the area, which does need to be protected (TLR#2);
Marine protected areas a certain distance offshore all along the shore which allow non-intrusive
activities but restrict damaging activities (e.g. fishing activities that damage reefs; restrict the
number of pots in any one area) (TLR#3);
I’d like to see the marine environment protected (LR#1);
Protect local fishers’ access and rights within the marine protected area to avoid significant loss
of livelihoods among fishers across the region (to foreign fleets) and associated businesses (P#1;
Better management of lobster fisheries to prevent depletion of stocks and to avoid
industrialisation and commercialisation of this industry by one or two large operators (P#4; P#5);
Encourage more diverse, localised fisheries within small communities (P#5);
Remove discard bans (P#3);
A strong, healthy marine environment with well-managed, sustainable activities (e.g. fisheries,
recreational) that allow the natural environment to thrive and recover where it needs to (R#3;
Clean, healthy, productive, biodiverse seas and sustainable use (R#4);
rules, norms, legislation,
treaties (7)
scale of operation (6)
drivers (15)
protection of habitats or
species (6)
Nature (11)
intrinsic value (5)
ecosystem structure and
functioning (6)
Human wellbeing
Physical, energy and livelihood
security (6)
Seabird colonies are healthy and protected from disturbing activities; seabirds receive statutory
protection to be able to respond to future pressures, and have safe and plentiful grounds at sea
(e.g. for breeding) (R#3);
More selected, closed areas (not only large areas) being used effectively so they can come into
play when needed (e.g. in Norway and Iceland fishers manage their own areas, closing one and
moving on to another area according to fish size) (P#3);
The no-take zone around Lundy is very effective for sustaining stocks of fish, lobster and crab
which is also benefitting recreational activities (e.g. diving) (P#1);
More regional management with an appropriate-sized group (not too big) of representative
stakeholders including NGOs, fishermen and the MMO (P#3);
More action is needed regarding management of beach litter/plastic at a policy level and at source
(e.g. supermarkets need to take some responsibility) (P#1; R#5);
We need a three-way conversation between society, marine conservationists and the fishing
industry to understand more about each others’ perspectives and decision-making processes
A strong, healthy ecosystem that’s resilient to anticipated future changes (R#3);
Much greater investment in manpower, education and resources to tackle marine-related issues
and threats (e.g. to marine life) (R#5);
MERP A whale of a time
3.2.5 Guiding principles to manage the marine environment
Overall, interviewees most often discussed other-regarding guiding principles from the
‘biospheric’ and ‘altruistic’ value clusters (jointly known as ‘self-transcendence’ values), and the
‘openness to change’ cluster (Table 6; see also Ainsworth et al. 2019).
The three most frequently discussed principles were ‘respecting the earth, harmony with
other species’, ‘curious, interested in everything, exploring’ and ‘protecting the environment,
preserving nature’. Some differences in preference were identified by stakeholder type (Figure 7).
Three key themes were strongly linked and related to living in balance and harmony with nature,
managing human impacts on the marine environment and the multidimensional experiences the coast
and sea can offer to people. These themes were expressed by several interviewees through common
ideas such as a preference for sustainable resource management and respect for species upon which
people depend for their livelihoods.
‘Respecting the Earth, harmony with other species. Yeah, I'll go with that… I am passionate
about where I work, how I work, what I do with the product, what I catch. There's no benefit to me
whatsoever to mistreat the product I'm catchin'. Because I'm earnin' my livin' from that. So, I wanna
catch that, I'll treat that with the highest respect until I've then sold that on’ (P#2).
‘I think that by curious, interested in everything, exploring... I think you have to be open-
minded. I think if we lose that curiosity, and then if we lose that interest, then if we're not interested
in it and we're not curious about it, we won't value it. And if we don't value it, then suddenly things
happen because we're no longer keeping an eye on it. We're no longer protecting it, and we lose it’
‘Well, obviously from an angling perspective, protecting the environment and preserving
nature is the key of… it sums it up for us… but on a wider scope, I think angling is actually good for
people because it gets people together and one of the things which is sad, in recent years is there's less
young people going fishing. I think that it helps people engage with nature and there's lots of other
values of community, which angling can bring to people, bring them together, sharing’ (TLR#4).
A smaller number of interviewees also related to ‘conservation/traditional’ and ‘self-
enhancement’ values, the most important principle being ‘self-discipline, self-restraint, resistance to
temptation’. This concept was linked to experiences and human wellbeing and generally meant
curtailing certain behaviours. However, it meant slightly different things to different interviewees.
One provisioning stakeholder expressed an interpretation that was common to several interviewees:
‘Self-discipline? Yeah, I can be that. Self-restraint. We're startin' to slide down the hill now. Resistance
to temptation… I think we're all slid off the edge there some time or another’ (P#2). Meanwhile, a
MERP A whale of a time
regulatory stakeholder explained that the marine setting is a positive environment for humans
because it encourages behaviours that contribute to physical and mental wellbeing:
‘When you're in the marine environment, there aren't many things that you're tempted to do
that are bad for you or it, not many. So, if you are trying to lose weight, trying to stay fit, trying to
recover from an illness, or trying to, as I am, be fit enough to crawl over the rock pools and do some
yoga, going out on the coast is a brilliant way to focus on those things, and to even have space to do
them that other people are going to find totally ridiculous! And poor people living in towns and cities
can't do any of that so I think, you watch them pour onto the beach, and they gradually shed all the
things they brought with them, usually half the house, and the next thing you know they're scampering
about wearing very little clothing, and having a whale of a time! How could you do that anywhere
else? And it's not doing any harm to anyone, it's great’ (R#5).
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Authority, the right to lead or command
Family security, safety for loved ones
Honouring parents and elders, showing respect
Influential, having an impact on people and events
Social justice, correcting injustice, care for the weak
Wealth, material possessions, money
An exciting life, stimulating experiences
Self-discipline, self-restraint, resistance to temptation
A world at peace, free of war and conflict
Equality, equal opportunity for all
A varied life, filled with challenge, novelty and change
Unity with nature, fitting into nature
Curious, interested in everything, exploring
Protecting the environment, preserving nature
Respecting the earth, harmony with other species
Provisioning (5) Regulatory (8) Local Resident (1) TLR (4)
Value cluster
Guiding principle (No. of interviewees)
Most frequently occurring themes
Biospheric (17)
Respecting the earth, harmony with other species (13)
living in harmony with nature (8)
living in balance and harmony with Mother Earth (7)
anthropogenic drivers (4)
institutions, governance systems and other indirect drivers (3)
nature (3)
experiences (2)
human wellbeing (2)
Protecting the environment, preserving nature (10)
anthropogenic drivers (9)
nature (5)
living in balance and harmony with Mother Earth (4)
institutions, governance systems and other indirect drivers (3)
human wellbeing (2)
identities (2)
nature’s benefits to people (2)
Unity with nature, fitting into nature (9)
living in harmony with nature (7)
anthropogenic drivers (3)
living in balance and harmony with Mother Earth (3)
human wellbeing (2)
nature (2)
Openness to change (12)
Curious, interested in everything, exploring (10)
experiences (10)
living in balance and harmony with Mother Earth (3)
capabilities (2)
anthropogenic drivers (2)
human wellbeing (2)
A varied life, filled with challenge, novelty and change
experiences (8)
human wellbeing (2)
nature (2)
nature’s benefits to people (2)
An exciting life, stimulating experiences (6)
experiences (6)
human wellbeing (2)
Altruistic (10)
Equality, equal opportunity for all (7)
institutions, governance systems and other indirect drivers (6)
human wellbeing (3)
anthropogenic drivers (2)
A world at peace, free of war and conflict (7)
human wellbeing (6)
experiences (3)
living in balance and harmony with Mother Earth (2)
Social justice, correcting injustice, care for the weak (4)
anthropogenic drivers (2)
human wellbeing (2)
institutions, governance systems and other indirect drivers (2)
Conservation/traditional (8)
Self-discipline, self-restraint, resistance to temptation
experiences (5)
human wellbeing (2)
Family security, safety for loved ones (4)
human wellbeing (4)
identities (2)
Honouring parents and elders, showing respect (4)
human wellbeing (3)
Self-enhancement (6)
Influential, having an impact on people and events (4)
living in balance and harmony with Mother Earth (2)
Wealth, material possessions, money (4)
human wellbeing (4)
Authority, the right to lead or command (2)
institutions, governance systems and other indirect drivers (3)
experiences (2)
MERP A whale of a time
3.2.6 Managing the interests of marine species and habits
The most frequently proposed ideas regarding how best to represent and manage the
interests of marine species and habitats within management decisions related to strategic, adaptive
management and monitoring approaches based on scientific evidence with strong local community
involvement (Tables 7 and 8). An important element of this was the need to integrate local, national
and international marine management strategies, particularly in light of the potential impacts of the
UK leaving the European Union (Brexit) on planning for species with large geographic boundaries.
Several interviewees cited the need for an increase in evidence-based decision-making
involving a wide range of stakeholders (e.g. more appropriate scientific studies, better information
flow between scientists and fishers). This was associated with the need for greater recognition and
protection of different marine species’ requirements within the existing network of marine protected
‘In terms of the commercially exploitable species, working with the fisherman on looking at
the species they do take and how they can be managed, and what kind of techniques we could use to
make their exploitation even more sustainable. That kind of management that we can put in or are
about to put in and considering. Dynamic seas management for example. Every now and then you get
a large sweep of spurdog that come into the area, which used to be a big fishery in the 70's but just
about collapsed so now they're an abandoned species. But they can be a choke species for a lot of the
fisherman in the area so if they turn up they have to stop fishing. But by using dynamic seas
management for example we can say well they're over here at the moment therefore it's OK to fish
over there. And then use those kinds of approaches to allow activity to continue. There could be
technologies and things we could apply as well’ (R#1).
More sustainable management of fisheries was highlighted as one outcome that could
significantly contribute to the wellbeing of wildlife and habitats. There was a preference among many
interviewees for systems of local management and local decision-making, especially with regard to
fisheries. It was suggested this could include implementing a ‘grid-system’ where small areas are
strategically opened or closed depending on fish population requirements as was said to occur in some
Scandinavian fisheries. Other ideas included restricting potentially harmful activities (e.g. scallop
dredging) to protect the seabed and associated species.
‘And what I'd like to see is, not the bigger areas, but smaller areas around the coastline, just
maybe use a few hundred yards, where you're stopped from fishing, in order to give those species,
lobster and crab mainly, somewhere where they can breed safely, and then you will have spill off as
well. If it's a bigger area, it would be financially damaging to the fishermen. If it's a nice small area,
MERP A whale of a time
say, just a couple hundred yards, it may not sound very much, but it may be just enough to give lobsters
a chance, and the fishermen a chance as well’ (P#5).
Several interviewees suggested that a desired positive outcome would be stronger
relationships between stakeholders representing different kinds of marine interests, possibly as a
result of working together to develop more sustainable marine practices. Related to this was the idea
of creating more opportunities for younger members of the community to engage with the marine
environment through studying or working locally in marine related professions.
Several interviewees framed their responses around the intrinsic value of ecosystems, wildlife
and habitats alluding to the idea that many stakeholders value nature as an end in itself or hold holistic
views about nature-human relationships (see O’Connor & Kenter 2019 for a more detailed discussion).
One regulatory interviewee suggested which stakeholders they thought should be involved in
wildlife related decision-making processes:
“I think there's the industries that are involved in the marine environment and again we come
back to fishing, not because they're necessarily the greatest threat, but because they're the greatest
opportunity... It has a more direct impact on their lives to have a healthy marine environment. I think
the people that live here… have an important part to play in being local guardians… I think there's the
industries that impact and rely on the marine environment. There's the local communities who
understand better and can translate the big picture into a much more local flavour that's much easier
to talk about on a personal one to one basis” (R#6).
Institutions, governance
systems and other direct drivers
systems of property and access rights (6)
The seal site at Morte Point (D) is attracting more people and will soon need
to be managed (LR#1);
Wildlife need to be adequately represented in marine planning but being
adequately protected through the designation process is the key thing
There needs to be a change in the way in which organisations/individuals
charged with advising government look at what matters (e.g. will it matter
if we allow aggregate extraction in this area?) (R#4);
Appropriate planning of fishing activities and installation of marine
protected areas (TLR#3);
Fishers are looking after their ground, the stocks and the environment (P#1;
Listen to all the stakeholders and try to find a common road (P#1; P#2; P#3;
R#6; TLR#1; TLR#4);
Fishers need to be better informed and consulted; a good way to do that is
for scientists or officials to go out with them and see how they operate
(P#1; P#5);
We need a groundswell of social support from a wider range of stakeholder
interests to apply political pressure to make structural and systematic
changes (R#6);
Decision-makers need evidence from conducting more appropriate science
or research (P#1);
Need to update the rarity criteria for seabed species and low-mobility
(inshore) species which is very out of date (R#4);
legitimacy and voice (6)
cooperation (5)
performance (4)
scale of operation (4)
Nature (9)
intrinsic value (7)
Anthropogenic drivers (8)
protection of habitats or species (5)
Living in harmony with nature
From a practical perspective, the natural capital approach can help by
applying a value on nature which can be used as a persuasive tool for
decision-makers (R#7);
Up to date surveys of wildlife populations need to be conducted and the
results made available to interested parties so the local community (e.g.
schools) can develop an interest and become involved in sustaining them
We need a more strategic, bigger picture approach with longer term
funding (20, 30 or 50 years) to make better decisions (R#8);
Wasteful use of marine life needs to be stopped (e.g. dead fish being
discarded because of quotas, using wild-caught fish to feed farmed salmon)
Reduce overpopulation in an area to avoid knock on effects (e.g. increased
number of houses, loss of woodlands, increased runoff into the sea)
We need to determine which services we value and rely on most, but
looking at non-monetary, intrinsic values to define what species and
habitats do for people in terms of their quality of life (R#1)
Institutions, governance
systems and other direct
drivers (15)
systems of property and access rights (13)
Adaptive, dynamic management and monitoring based on scientific evidence
(e.g. a grid system similar to Norwegian/Icelandic fisheries) where small
areas are alternately closed off for a certain period of time (e.g. during
spawning) (P#1; P#2; P#3; P#5; R#1; R#4);
Managing/restricting numbers of people using the marine environment for
various provisioning or recreational activities (e.g. dog training to protect
birds) (P#1; R#5; TLR#2);
Restrict/prevent activities that damage the seabed (e.g. scallop dredging,
sand and aggregate mining) to protect slow moving and bottom feeding
species (P#2; P#4);
Lundy is a good example of where scientific evidence is demonstrating that
no take zones are supporting species recovery (e.g. lobsters) (P#5);
Working with all the relevant institutions and wide range of stakeholders to
discuss possible outcomes (P#2);
More local management (e.g. a local board of fishers who represent different
local communities) who would manage local fisheries sustainably for their
children or future generations of fishers (P#1; P#5);
Systems of local management, local decision-making so that local
communities are involved and strategies work for them, and these strategies
are integrated and work at the larger scale (i.e. support national strategies)
otherwise neighbouring damaged ecosystems will have a detrimental
influence on any improvements (R#8);
Recognise areas that are important for various species, and importantly
recognise that we need to have a network of these protected areas for the
whole of the ecosystem to be healthy and to be coherent (R#8);
rules, norms, legislation, treaties (6)
cooperation (6)
scale of operation (6)
legitimacy and voice (4)
Anthropogenic drivers (11)
exclusion and restoration of habitats (7)
protection of habitats or species (5)
Nature (10)
intrinsic value (5)
ecosystem structure and functioning (4)
living natural resources (4)
Working with local fishers to develop more effective and sustainable
management of commercial fish species (R#1; TLR#1);
MCZs are designed around the network guidance with local stakeholder
input to try to achieve the correct size for species distribution (R#1);
Effective management of MCZs through IFCAs, local authorities, and broader
legal responsibilities (R#6);
Current MCZs need to be protected (they are the foundation on which
management of the wider marine environment can be built) (R#6; R#7);
From a marine protected area perspective, there is some evidence of how to
mitigate disturbance to nesting seabirds, the principles of which could be
applied to other sites via the precautionary approach (R#3);
Professional input from Plymouth or Exeter Universities for example, to
conduct fieldwork studies in North Devon (R#5);
Create more opportunities for young people to study and work locally in
marine (biology) related professions (R#5);
Look at the big picture to understand how marine systems (e.g. in SW) are
being managed and roll that out across the country and beyond (R#7);
Regarding Brexit, we need to bring in management strategies that recognise
many species (e.g. fish) have no geographic boundaries so there is still a need
to work with other European countries (R#7);
Protecting wildlife to some degree but not so much that industries which
depend on the sea are unable to make a living (TLR#3);
MERP A whale of a time
3.3 Managing the Marine Pioneer
Of the 18 stakeholders interviewed, 12 claimed to have been aware of plans to implement the
Marine Pioneer prior to the interview. This included all eight regulatory stakeholders who had learned
about the Pioneer in an official capacity through their work. The other four (three provisioning and
one TLR interviewee) had heard about it either directly or indirectly from those involved in setting up
the Pioneer.
When shown the map of the proposed Pioneer boundary and asked how it could be managed,
most interviewees responded positively to the idea of a new marine protected area extending from
the existing terrestrial North Devon Biosphere Reserve. For several stakeholders, the Pioneer
presented an interesting concept in terms of marine planning. This was partly due to its perceived role
in the existing network of local and national marine protected areas which some felt offered the
opportunity to try novel management strategies:
‘Hopefully the Pioneer is giving us the opportunity to push and test and stretch and just nudge
policies a bit so we can see which ones will actually work best’ (R#1).
Most interviewees talked about the importance of effective stakeholder involvement in
decision-making processes. On the one hand, this was to do with increasing cooperation amongst
those representing different kinds of interests and activities in the area:
‘So, you would have zones around the area where you can't, perhaps, do fishing, you can't
have boats going in because of the wildlife that's on the shore and also noise pollution. By keeping
people away from the shore, perhaps some habitats would establish in that area’ (TLR#1).
On the other hand, it was also to do with getting stakeholders on board and utilising local
knowledge and ideas about how to develop, implement and fund a management plan:
‘By the people who work it, who know it best. It's a very vast area to manage, so you'd need
to get different people from different sectors, so fishermen, charter boat operators, beach-walkers,
surfers. Because what's going to be up at Minehead will be completely different to what's down in
Tintagel. But yeah, just by the people, who all report as one, have the same voice’ (P#1).
The opportunity to study, protect and enhance populations of marine wildlife (e.g. fish,
seabirds) and the marine environment in general was also described in positive terms:
‘Some frontal systems often aggregate seabirds at those areas because they're good for food.
So perhaps it's an opportunity to understand better about how seabirds are using this area, and then,
thinking about their protection… because we know it does contain all the important seabird colonies’
However, some interviewees also expressed doubts about the concept and these related to
apparent cynicism based on lack of knowledge about it, whether it was feasible to manage such a large
MERP A whale of a time
area due to a complex range of socio-economic interests and potential resourcing issues (e.g. in terms
of policing the area):
It's extremely difficult... it's a really ambitious, amorphous project. It will be terribly at risk of
getting lost in its own jargon, and being way beyond people like me to understand I thought the
Biosphere was such an interesting concept, that it was about people and place, and their relationship
over time, past and into the future, and how they could coordinate the kind of diffuse effort that goes
on in this area to look after its environment. Our Biosphere hasn't developed like thatI think they've
spread themselves too wide, they have tried to respond, probably for political reasons, to economic
and social concerns, and they've tried to be all things to all people, and they've never been resourced
very well, and now they're scarcely resourced at all. It's heart-breaking’ (R#5).
‘Well, there's no point putting measurements inside these areas if we've got a foreign fleet,
which by far outweighs the effort locally, unpicking everything we do good inside that boundary… we
need to make sure the rules apply to everybody, really, to make it work, you know’ (P#3).
Institutions, governance
systems and other direct drivers
systems of property and
access rights (13)
The Marine Pioneer project is important it can be linked up in scale to marine
management plans and down in scale to the management of marine conservation areas
A challenge will be how to best manage the Pioneer (and overall network of MPAs) in the
context of the wider seas and their management and how to make sure the benefits are
delivered to stakeholders (R#1; P#3; P#5);
The area could be split into zones where particular activities are restricted to minimise
impacts on wildlife and habitats (e.g. no-take zones, speed limits for wildlife tour boats,
reducing noise pollution) (TLR#1; LR#1);
Part of the early stages will be to improve on the accuracy of and confidence in baseline
data previously gathered regarding condition of marine habitats on the seabed (R#1);
Early work will focus on developing a vision for the Pioneer with the local community to
ensure the appropriate stakeholders are involved (R#1);
The Pioneer is providing the opportunity to push and test policies to identify which work
best (R#1);
It’s important to involve people with different reasons for being interested in the marine
environment to talk about how to work together to ensure a sustainable future (P#5; R#4;
R#7; TLR#2)
There needs to be engagement with local communities to make it work for everyone (e.g.
use local fishers’ knowledge of species, work directly with different stakeholders to see
what their requirements are, support development of alternative livelihoods) (TLR#2;
Policing the area will be very important but challenging so it’s important to have local
stakeholder buy-in and support (e.g. local boat users could monitor the area for
inappropriate activities) (P#5; TLR#4);
cooperation (8)
legitimacy and voice (7)
scale of operation (5)
accountability (5)
performance (5)
economic policies (4)
Human wellbeing (7)
action and participation in
society (5)
Anthropogenic drivers (7)
degradation of species
and habitats (2)
exclusion and restoration
of habitats (2)
Pollution of soil, water or
air (2)
protection of species or
habitats (2)
Nature (6)
intrinsic value (5)
Living in balance and harmony
with Mother Earth (6)
relationship with the
wider human community
Part of the aim of the Pioneer Project is to listen to voices, get ideas, think of innovative
solutions, innovative ways of developing, implementing and funding a management plan
It's extremely difficult, because it’s a really ambitious, amorphous project at risk of getting
lost in its own jargon (R#5);
It’s just another line on a map (P#4);
Anything that helps conserve fish stocks and marine environments is a good thing as long
as it doesn’t become too restrictive (P#5; TLR#3);
The Biosphere will continue/adapt the work of the Pioneer to make sure any solutions
implemented are sustainable from a management and ecological point of view (R#1);
It overlaps with important seabird colonies around Lundy and off the North Devon coast so
it’s an opportunity to better understand, manage and protect seabird populations and key
sites (R#3).
MERP A whale of a time
4. Conclusions
Overall, perspectives about the SW marine environment and its management can be grouped
into four major topics: anthropogenic drivers; human wellbeing; institutions, governance systems and
other direct drivers; and nature. A recurring theme was the desire for devolution of some
management powers to local stakeholders representing the broad diversity of marine users’ interests.
Most interviewees were strongly attached to the places they visit and conduct multiple kinds
of recreational and professional activities within their local marine environment, indicating that the
sea and coastal environs are important to their sense of wellbeing and livelihoods. Wildlife encounters
were particularly important in this respect, as were healthy populations of commercial fish species.
Many examples were given of recent positive changes observed in the marine environment,
such as the link between bans on seabed dredging and recovery of some marine species populations.
However, these positive stories were outweighed by the number of examples cited of negative
changes which were mostly perceived as being due to intensification of certain human activities and
associated detrimental impacts on wildlife and habitats. Most interviewees viewed current
management effectiveness to deal with these concerns with dissatisfaction, especially those not
usually involved in marine-related decision-making processes, and provisioning stakeholders whose
livelihoods are directly linked to national and international marine planning policies and principles.
Regarding their vision for the future of the marine environment, interviewees expressed a
desire for sustainable management and demonstrated a willingness to curtail their own and others’
activities and behaviours to achieve this. This was reflected in their preference for ‘self-
transcendence’, ‘openness to change’ and conservation/traditional’ value clusters which have been
linked to pro-environmental behaviour (Stern et al. 1998; Raymond & Kenter 2016). Interviewees felt
the best way to represent and manage the interests of marine species and habitats within
management decisions was through strategic, adaptive management and monitoring approaches
based on scientific evidence with strong local community involvement.
Hence, most interviewees reacted positively to the notion of a Marine Pioneer extending from
the existing North Devon Biosphere Reserve. Nevertheless, some doubted how such a large area could
be managed mostly due to awareness of insufficient resources to implement management strategies
elsewhere. Major keys to the Pioneer’s success will be the effective involvement of local stakeholders’
knowledge and resources in developing, implementing and funding a sustainable, locally managed
plan and the flexibility to adapt to future challenges.
This research has identified a diversity of stakeholder interests, activities and values relating
to the coastal and marine environment and has revealed a shared desire for the management of
activities deemed harmful to marine ecosystems, species and habitats. To ensure stakeholder buy-in
MERP A whale of a time
and to avoid the potential for conflict among those holding different marine-related values and
competing interests, it is critical that the full range of stakeholders and their values are adequately
represented in future marine management decision-making processes. This can be achieved, for
example, through deliberative valuation workshops whereby groups of stakeholders are invited to
deliberate upon and prioritise a range of appropriate policy options (e.g. Kenter et al. 2016).
MERP A whale of a time
5. References
Ainsworth, G.B., Kenter, J.O., O'Connor, S., Daunt, F., Young, J.C., 2019. A fulfilled human life: Eliciting
sense of place and cultural identity in two UK marine environments through the Community
Voice Method. Ecosystem Services 39, 100992.
Church, A., Fish, R., Haines-Young, R., Mourato, S., Tratalos, J., Stapleton, L., Willis, C., Coates, P.,
Gibbons, S., Leyshon, C., Potschin, M., Ravenscroft, N., Sanchis-Guarner, R., Winter, M.,
Kenter, J., 2014. UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Work Package Report 5:
cultural ecosystem services and indicators. UNEP-WCMC, LWEC, UK.
Díaz, S., Demissew, S., Carabias, J., Joly, C., Lonsdale, M., Ash, N., Larigauderie, A., Adhikari, J.R., Arico,
S., Báldi, A., Bartuska, A., Baste, I.A., Bilgin, A., Brondizio, E., Chan, K.M.A., Figueroa, V.E.,
Duraiappah, A., Fischer, M., Hill, R., Koetz, T., Leadley, P., Lyver, P., Mace, G.M., Martin-Lopez,
B., Okumura, M., Pacheco, D., Pascual, U., Pérez, E.S., Reyers, B., Roth, E., Saito, O., Scholes,
R.J., Sharma, N., Tallis, H., Thaman, R., Watson, R., Yahara, T., Hamid, Z.A., Akosim, C., Al-
Hafedh, Y., Allahverdiyev, R., Amankwah, E., Asah, S.T., Asfaw, Z., Bartus, G., Brooks, L.A.,
Caillaux, J., Dalle, G., Darnaedi, D., Driver, A., Erpul, G., Escobar-Eyzaguirre, P., Failler, P.,
Fouda, A.M.M., Fu, B., Gundimeda, H., Hashimoto, S., Homer, F., Lavorel, S., Lichtenstein, G.,
Mala, W.A., Mandivenyi, W., Matczak, P., Mbizvo, C., Mehrdadi, M., Metzger, J.P., Mikissa,
J.B., Moller, H., Mooney, H.A., Mumby, P., Nagendra, H., Nesshover, C., Oteng-Yeboah, A.A.,
Pataki, G., Roué, M., Rubis, J., Schultz, M., Smith, P., Sumaila, R., Takeuchi, K., Thomas, S.,
Verma, M., Yeo-Chang, Y., Zlatanova, D., 2015. The IPBES Conceptual Framework
connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14, 1-16.
Fish, R., Church, A., Winter, M., 2016. Conceptualising cultural ecosystem services: a novel framework
for research and critical engagement. Ecosystem Services 21, 208-217.
Gould, R.K., Klain, S.C., Ardoin, N.M., Satterfield, T., Woodside, U., Hannahs, N., Daily, G.C., Chan, K.M.,
2015. A protocol for eliciting nonmaterial values through a cultural ecosystem services frame.
Conservation Biology 29 (2), 575-586.
Haines-Young, R., Paterson, J., Potschin, M., Wilson, A., Kass, G., 2011. The UK NEA scenarios:
development of storylines and analysis of outcomes, The UK National Ecosystem Assessment:
Technical Report. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK.
Kenter, J.O., Ainsworth, G., Martino, S., Serpetti, N., Ainscough, J., Beukers-Stewart, B., Evans, P.,
Heymans, S., Hyder, K., O'Connor, S., Heath, M., Forthcoming. Integrating across ecological,
economic, social and cultural dimensions of sustainability challenges: A post-normal science
approach to support marine management decisions.
MERP A whale of a time
Kenter, J.O., O'Brien, L., Hockley, N., Ravenscroft, N., Fazey, I., Irvine, K.N., Reed, M.S., Christie, M.,
Brady, E., Bryce, R., Church, A., Cooper, N., Davies, A., Evely, A., Everard, M., Fish, R., Fisher,
J.A., Jobstvogt, N., Molloy, C., Orchard-Webb, J., Ranger, S., Ryan, M., Watson, V., Williams, S.,
2015. What are shared and social values of ecosystems? Ecological Economics 111, 8699.
Kenter, J.O., Bryce, R., Christie, M., Cooper, N., Hockley, N., Irvine, K.N., Fazey, I., O’Brien, L., Orchard-
Webb, J., Ravenscroft, N., Raymond, C.M., Reed, M.S., Tett, P., Watson, V., 2016. Shared
values and deliberative valuation: future directions. Ecosyst. Serv. 21B, 358371.
North Devon Biosphere, 2019. North Devon Marine Pioneer. North Devon Biosphere, North Devon,
O’Connor, S., Kenter, J.O., 2019. Making intrinsic values work; integrating intrinsic values of the more-
than-human world through the Life Framework of Values. Sustainability Science 31, 93-19.
Raymond, C.M., Kenter, J.O., 2016. Transcendental values and the valuation and management of
ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services 21, 241-257.
Stern, P.C., Dietz, T., Guagnano, G.A., 1998. A brief inventory of values. Educational and Psychological
Measurement 58, 984-1001.
UK NEA, 2014. UK National Ecosystem Assessment follow-on phase: Synthesis report. UNEP-WCMC,
Cambridge, UK.
Young, J.C., Rose, D.C., Mumby, H.S., Benitez-Capistros, F., Derrick, C.J., Finch, T., Garcia, C., Home, C.,
Marwaha, E., Morgans, C., Parkinson, S., Shah, J., Wilson, K.A., Mukherjee, N., 2018. A
methodological guide to using and reporting on interviews in conservation science research.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9 (1), 10-19.
Interview questions
2a. What appeals most to you/your community about the marine environment around here and why?
2b. Which places do you/your community visit or use most often (e.g. the coastline, beaches, estuary, sea, islands) or are
special to you/your community?
Policy/management options
5a. What recent changes have you noticed in the marine environment around here? (Please indicate on the map where
these changes have taken place; mark positive changes in green and negative changes in red.)
5b. How effective is current marine management in addressing any concerns about changes you may have?
5c. How would you describe your / your community’s vision for the future of the marine environment here?
5d. Here are some examples of values that could be used to guide management of the marine environment. Are there any
that particularly stand out to you?
5e. How could we better represent the interests of marine species and habitats in this area within management decisions?
5f. What management outcomes would most benefit marine species and habitats in this area?
Managing the Marine
5g. Were you aware of the Marine Pioneer before today?
5h. What do you think about the Marine Pioneer (marine area of the Biosphere) and how it should be managed?
Stakeholder type
Local resident
Cetacean surveys
North Devon
Wildlife tourism
Obsession Charters
North Devon
Wildlife tourism
Atlantic Diving
Male & female
Ilfracombe Dive Club
North Devon
Combe Martin Sea Angling Club
North Devon
Combe Martin
Two males
Strategic partnerships
North Devon Biosphere Reserve
North Devon
Environmental management
Environment Agency
South Devon
Marine biology
Lundy Field Association
South Devon
North Devon
Devon Wildlife Trust
North Devon
Strategic partnerships
Devon Maritime Forum
South Devon
Fisheries authority
Devon & Severn IFCA
South Devon
Fisheries (Hand/static)
Lundy Diving
North Devon
Fisheries (Hand/static)
North Devon Fisheries Association
North Devon
Fisheries (Mobile)
Wharton Trawlers
North Devon
Fisheries (Hand/static)
Ilfracombe Dive Club
North Devon
Fisheries (Hand/static)
Clovelly Harbourmaster
North Devon
creating and expressing; gathering and consuming; playing and exercising; producing and caring
cultural identity*; belonging; sense of place
aesthetic pleasure; challenge; curiosity; excitement or fun; fear; isolation or seclusion; loss or sadness; love or affection;
novelty; relaxation; self-discipline; spirituality; variety
knowledge acquisition or transferral; personal advancement; skill development
biocultural diversity; biodiversity; ecosystem structure and functioning; ecosystems; intrinsic value; living natural
resources; shared evolutionary heritage; the biosphere; the evolutionary process
Anthropogenic assets
built infrastructure; financial assets; health facilities; knowledge; technology
Nature’s benefits to people
benefits that humanity obtains from nature; ecosystem goods and services; effects of nature on quality of life; nature’s
Institutions, governance
systems and other indirect
accountability; economic policies; equity; fairness; freedom; justice; legitimacy and voice; performance; rights; rules,
norms, legislation, treaties; scale of operation; systems of property and access rights
Direct drivers
extreme events; natural climate and weather patterns
climate change produced by anthropogenic carbon emissions; degradation of habitats or
species; exclusion and restoration of habitats or species; harvesting of wild populations;
intensification or abandonment; pollution of soil, water or air; protection of habitats or
species; species introductions
Good quality of life
Human wellbeing
access to food, water, shelter, health, education; action and participation in society; equity;
freedom of choice; good social relationships; material prosperity; physical and mental
wellbeing; physical, energy and livelihood security; spiritual satisfaction
Living in harmony with
interdependence among human beings, other living species and the elements of nature
Living in balance and
harmony with Mother
relationship between humans and Mother Earth; relationship with the wider human
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
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Valuation that focuses only on individual values evades the substantial collective and intersubjective meanings, significance and value from ecosystems. Shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystems constitute a diffuse and interdisciplinary field of research, covering an area that links questions around value ontology, elicitation and aggregation with questions of participation, ethics, and social justice. Synthesising understanding from various contributions to this Special Issue of Ecosystem Services, and with a particular focus on deliberation and deliberative valuation, we discuss key findings and present 35 future research questions in eight topic areas: 1) the ontology of shared values; 2) the role of catalyst and conflict points; 3) shared values and cultural ecosystem services; 4) transcendental values; 5) the process and outcomes of deliberation; 6) deliberative monetary valuation; 7) value aggregation, meta-values and ‘rules of the game’; and 8) integrating valuation methods. The results of this Special Issue and these key questions can help develop a more extensive evidence base to mature the area and develop environmental valuation into a more pluralistic, comprehensive, robust, legitimate and effective way of safeguarding ecosystems and their services for the future.
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Stakeholders' nonmaterial desires, needs, and values often critically influence the success of conservation projects. These considerations are challenging to articulate and characterize, resulting in their limited uptake in management and policy. We devised an interview protocol designed to enhance understanding of cultural ecosystem services (CES). The protocol begins with discussion of ecosystem-related activities (e.g., recreation, hunting) and management and then addresses CES, prompting for values encompassing concepts identified in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) and explored in other CES research. We piloted the protocol in Hawaii and British Columbia. In each location, we interviewed 30 individuals from diverse backgrounds. We analyzed results from the 2 locations to determine the effectiveness of the interview protocol in elucidating nonmaterial values. The qualitative and spatial components of the protocol helped characterize cultural, social, and ethical values associated with ecosystems in multiple ways. Maps and situational, or vignette-like, questions helped respondents articulate difficult-to-discuss values. Open-ended prompts allowed respondents to express a diversity of ecosystem-related values and proved sufficiently flexible for interviewees to communicate values for which the protocol did not explicitly probe. Finally, the results suggest that certain values, those mentioned frequently throughout the interview, are particularly salient for particular populations. The protocol can provide efficient, contextual, and place-based data on the importance of particular ecosystem attributes for human well-being. Qualitative data are complementary to quantitative and spatial assessments in the comprehensive representation of people's values pertaining to ecosystems, and this protocol may assist in incorporating values frequently overlooked in decision making processes.
Despite the wealth of studies assessing values in relation to the management of ecosystem services, few studies have assessed transcendental values (TVs). TVs include ethical principles and desirable end states, such as 'a world at peace' or 'unity with nature' that transcend specific situations. We argue that TVs are important to consider in relation to ecosystem services because they: are implicit within ecosystem service valuations; directly and indirectly affect behaviour; influence the way we view knowledge and evidence; may be shared when more superficial values conflict; and underpin social representations. We demonstrate through case examples from the United Kingdom, Solomon Islands and Australia how they can be applied to the assessment of pro-environmental behaviour, how they might influence monetary valuations, and be affected by deliberative processes. TVs had direct effects on behavioural intention and significantly influenced willingness to pay. In contrast to conceptions of TVs as stable, in some cases deliberation led to significant change in TVs. We also observed indirect effects between TVs and constructs that mediate between TVs and behaviour, including beliefs and norms about conservation actions. We discuss the implications of the results for ecosystem valuation and management, including directions for future research.
The authors present a brief inventory derived from Schwartz's 56-item instrument measuring the structure and content of human values. The inventory's four 3-item scales, measuring the major clusters called Self-Transcendence, Self-Enhancement, Openness to Change, and Conservation (or Traditional) values, all produce scores with acceptable reliability in two studies of pro-environmental attitudes and actions, and the brief inventory predicts those indicators nearly as well as much longer ones. The authors also present subscales of biospheric and altruistic values that can be used to assess whether Self-Transcendence values are differentiated in this way in special samples such as environmental activists. The brief inventory is suitable for use in survey research and other settings in which the longer instrument might be impractical.
The UK NEA scenarios: development of storylines and analysis of outcomes
  • R Haines-Young
  • J Paterson
  • M Potschin
  • A Wilson
  • G Kass
Haines-Young, R., Paterson, J., Potschin, M., Wilson, A., Kass, G., 2011. The UK NEA scenarios: development of storylines and analysis of outcomes, The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Technical Report. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK.