Article

Is the instrumental approach a ‘silver bullet’ for addressing non-compliance in recreational fisheries: A South African case study

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Abstract

Non-compliance with recreational fishery regulations is considered to be one of the biggest threats to the sustainability of fisheries. Dedicated non-compliance studies are seldom carried out at the national level which makes it difficult to discern the behavioural compliance norms within a population. The instrumental approach for compliance is the traditional paradigm in recreational fisheries. It postulates that increased enforcement activities and the corresponding punishment will improve compliance behaviour, although there is little empirical evidence for such a supposition within the recreational fisheries context. Using face-to-face encounter surveys employing the ballot box method for reducing social desirability bias (SDB), South African marine shore-based fishery (MSBF) participants were questioned on their compliance behaviour with a set of regulations pertaining to the fishery. Overall non-compliance levels were very high (52%), and non-compliance levels with individual regulations varied based on provincial locality. Perceptions and observations of enforcement activity had no significant impact on compliance behaviour. Participants that had previously been caught by law enforcement violating the regulations were still more likely to violate the regulations than participants that had not faced enforcement action. Results indicate that calls for increased enforcement as a means of improving compliance behaviour are questionable in the South African MSBF, and further emphasise the need to develop alternative approaches, such as those pertaining to normative theory, within recreational fisheries.

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... South Africa's marine recreational fishery provides an ideal case study as it generally has poor angler environmental behaviour (e.g. compliance with regulations, Bova et al. (2022) and is poorly managed (Potts et al., 2019(Potts et al., , 2020. Despite this, recreational anglers in South Africa have self-organised via the internet, forming a number of social media groups. ...
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This paper extends criminological interpretations of risky facilities to focus on how illegal fishing is concentrated in a small number of places in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia. Testing the applicability of the general hypothesis of risky facilities – that crime is highly concen- trated among certain people, places and things – the results demonstrate that the spatial distribution of poaching in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park reflects previous environmental criminology studies which show that crime is concentrated in a small number of places. Poaching risk increases in no-take zones which share a number of homogenous characteristics that also attract legitimate routine activity. Our findings lend support to the emerging environmental criminology literature which examines wildlife crime through the lens of opportunity. Such an approach provides conservation practitioners with an established framework for developing prevention-based compliance management strategies in marine protected areas.
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Enforcing compliance with rules and regulations in recreational fisheries has proved difficult due to factors such as the high number of participants and costs of enforcement, the absence of regular monitoring of recreational fishing activity, and the inherent difficulties in accurately determining catch levels. The effectiveness of traditional punitive deterrence is limited, yet current management is heavily reliant on this compliance approach. In this paper, the potential of behavioural based management is considered through a narrative review of the relevant literature; specifically, exploring the use of nudges, which aim through subtle changes and indirect suggestion to make certain decisions more salient, thereby improving voluntary compliance. This concept is explored with specific reference to the compliance of fishers within Australian recreational fisheries. There are only a few examples of behavioural based approaches found. However, based on their theoretical foundations, nudges may represent an inexpensive, and potentially highly effective tool for recreational fisheries management. Nudges do not offer a ‘quick fix’ to cases where traditional policy instruments have failed. Rather, there is the potential for behavioural nudges (based on framing, changing the physical environment, presenting default options, and social norms) to augment and complement existing deterrence regimes. A number of potential nudges for compliance management in recreational fisheries are suggested, but caution is advised. As with any novel management approach, nudges must be rigorously tested to demonstrate their cost-effectiveness and to avoid unintended consequences.
Article
Recreational fisheries can play a significant role in the population dynamics of threatened fish species, but have received much less research and management attention than commercial fisheries. Land-based anglers are a group of recreational fishers that fish from beaches or piers; however, comparatively little is known about the practices and perceptions of this stakeholder group. In order to gather data for an initial assessment of the fishing practices of land-based anglers and their perspectives on shark conservation issues, we performed a content and discourse analysis of an online discussion forum used by the largest land-based shark fishing club in Florida. Discussion board content analysis can identify evidence that certain perceptions or practices exist within a studied sample, but cannot be used to estimate how common those perceptions and practices are among the wider population. We found evidence that forum users are demographically distinct from other recreational anglers in Florida, and are mostly young males. Some forum users perceive themselves as relatively low-income compared with other fishing stakeholder groups. There was no evidence in forum discussions that patterns of reported landing and release of hammerhead and tiger sharks changed following the introduction of new legal protections for these species in 2012. This study identified a minimum of dozens of cases of illegal shark fishing practices among forum users, and found evidence that some users are aware that these practices are illegal. There was evidence that some users believe that their own practices have no effect on shark populations and should not be regulated. Additionally, this study found the existence of mixed attitudes and levels of trust towards scientific researchers and environmentalists.
Chapter
Angler (or creel) surveys are used to measure the impact of recreational fishing on fisheries resources. Survey-contact methods include mail, telephone, internet, face-to-face, access-point, roving, and aerial. Choice of survey method depends on the type of information needed and the available budget. Most frequently, a combination of survey-contact methods is used and estimation of quantities such as catch and fishing effort will depend on the survey design. When accurate catch data are necessary, surveys that are conducted on site (access-point, roving) are preferred because catch can be observed and counted by the survey agent. In contrast, off-site surveys (mail, telephone, and internet) rely on self-reported data that require the angler to remember the fishing trip catch and effort accurately. Sampling frames for off-site surveys include angler-license lists, telephone directories, or other data containing angler contact information. Sampling frames for on-site surveys include lists of access sites, geographic maps of water bodies, and calendars. The choice of survey method and design will depend on availability of the appropriate sampling frame, the need for accuracy in catch or effort estimation, timeliness, and cost.
Chapter
The term creel survey is applied to sampling surveys that target recreational anglers. The name comes from the woven wooden basket, or creel, that freshwater anglers use to hold captured fish while they continue fishing. Traditionally, the survey is conducted on-site at access points along the water and the angler is asked about the fish species that have been targeted, the numbers of each species caught and released, and the time spent fishing. These data are used to estimate the total catch and effort for that recreational fishery in order to manage its harvest. Additionally, other measures such as catch per unit effort are used to assess qualities of the fishery that lead to angler satisfaction with his/her recreational experience. Anglers can also be contacted by other means, such as by telephone or mail, and may also be asked other questions, such as those related to economic expenditures.
Chapter
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing may, in some cases, be the instigating activity that eventually leads to occurrences of seafood fraud. In efforts to conceal illegally caught fish and to mislead authorities, fishers or supply chain middlemen may mislabel catches or shipments of seafood products, indicating false species identities and/or origins of catch. In this chapter, we define and describe IUU fishing as a concept, giving examples of many different recognized forms of IUU fishing and the avoidance tactics that are often employed by those engaging in these activities. We also summarize the efforts that are currently being made to combat IUU fishing, and discuss the potential impacts that IUU fishing can have on the seafood industry.
Article
About a half century ago, in 1965, Warner proposed the randomized response method as a survey technique to reduce potential bias due to nonresponse and social desirability when asking questions about sensitive behaviors and beliefs. This method asks respondents to use a randomization device, such as a coin flip, whose outcome is unobserved by the interviewer. By introducing random noise, the method conceals individual responses and protects respondent privacy. While numerous methodological advances have been made, we find surprisingly few applications of this promising survey technique. In this article, we address this gap by (1) reviewing standard designs available to applied researchers, (2) developing various multivariate regression techniques for substantive analyses, (3) proposing power analyses to help improve research designs, (4) presenting new robust designs that are based on less stringent assumptions than those of the standard designs, and (5) making all described methods available through open-source software. We illustrate some of these methods with an original survey about militant groups in Nigeria.
Article
Illegal exploitation of resources is a cause of environmental degradation worldwide. The effectiveness of conservation initiatives such as marine protected areas relies on users' compliance with regulations. Although compliance can be motivated by social norms (e.g. peer pressure and legitimacy), some enforcement is commonly necessary. Enforcement is expensive, particularly in areas far from land, but costs can be reduced by optimizing enforcement. We present a case study of how enforcement could be optimized at Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica, an offshore protected area and World Heritage Site. By analysing patrol records we determined the spatial and temporal distribution of illegal fishing and its relationship to patrol effort. Illegal fishing was concentrated on a seamount within the Park and peaked during the third year-quarter, probably as a result of oceanographic conditions. The lunar cycle in conjunction with the time of year significantly influenced the occurrence of incursions. The predictability of illegal fishing in space and time facilitates the optimization of patrol effort. Repeat offenders are common in the Park and we suggest that unenforced regulations and weak governance are partly to blame. We provide recommendations for efficient distribution of patrol effort in space and time, establishing adequate governance and policy, and designing marine protected areas to improve compliance. Our methods and recommendations are applicable to other protected areas and managed natural resources.
Article
Illegal fishing has detrimental environmental and social impacts, but these effects are difficult to mitigate without reliable estimates of fisher noncompliance. This research makes a case for the use of the randomized response technique (RRT) as a tool to inform conservation policy with respect to regulatory compliance. RRT was used to generate estimates of non-compliance in the Northern California recreational red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) fishery before and after the introduction of new tagging regulations and marine protected areas (MPAs). Anonymous paper-based compliance and sociodemographic surveys were conducted with recreational fishers in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties in August of 2007 and 2011. The 2011 survey found reductions in illegal take across most violation types, and since the introduction of on-animal tagging regulations the proportional daily take limit violation among local residents was found to have decreased from 72% to 43%. The results indicate higher non-compliance rates among visitors than local fishers regarding licensing laws, minimum size limits, and annual catch limits. Locals were proportionately more likely to violate the daily catch limit and the new regulations, though 85% of the fishers surveyed were aware of them. The rule-specific violation estimates RRT generates provide managers with a level of detail about non-compliant behavior that is unique, and can point to opportunities for improving managerial communication and enforcement.
Article
The cover of the 1993 reprint of Beverton and Holt's book bears a diagram, its significance previously unrecognized, that expresses extinction due to fishing. This paper traces the concept to self-regenerating yield models in their 1957 book, its numerical development therein far in advance of its reinvention 30 years later. Local extinction constitutes a critical impact of fisheries on aquatic ecosystems that has been too often downplayed by fisheries science.
Article
Traditional regulatory options (formal institutions) imposed by government agencies such as harvest and gear restrictions represent the standard in recreational fisheries management, at least in developed countries. However, there exist a number of alternatives including the use of angler education programmes that attempt to evoke voluntary changes in angler behaviour, resulting in the emergence of volun-tarily motivated resource-conserving informal institutions. These 'softer' approaches to aquatic stewardship and fisheries management can be developed in cooperation with stakeholders and in many cases are led by avid anglers and angling groups. Examples of such measures include voluntary sanctuaries, informally enforced sea-sonal closures, personal daily bag limits, self-imposed constraints on gear, develop-ment of entirely live-release fisheries, and adoption of fish and aquatic ecosystem conservation-oriented gears and release practices. Education efforts that provide anglers with knowledge on best practices and empower them to modify their behav-iour hold great promise to meet formal management goals and objectives, but seem to be underutilized relative to formal regulations. This article highlights the benefits and challenges of relying on informal institutions as alternatives to traditional regu-latory options. Informal institutions that protect resources and help overfished stocks recover hold great promise in both developed and developing countries, par-ticularly when there is a single stakeholder group or when the capacity to enforce traditional regulations or to invest in stock assessments is limited. Informal institu-tions may help make formal institutions more effective or can even be alternatives to costly institutions that depend on enforcement to be effective.
Article
To become legitimate fishery stakeholders alongside government and commercial interests, recreational fisheries must operate in accordance with the rules, principles, or standards established for sustainable fisheries. These rules fall within the following fisheries management processes: (i) assessment of stock status relative to target or reference points, (ii) control of either total fishing effort (input control) or total harvest (output control), and (iii) allocation of the harvest amongst stakeholders. Unfortunately, recreational fisheries are rarely subjected to the same standards as commercial fisheries. Aside from personal conservation ethics, there are no incentives for recreational fishers to meet any standards of catch reporting and assessment, limits on total fishery catch, and accounting for allocated catches. In contrast, commercial fisheries are often required to follow strict standards in each of the three management processes. This paper demonstrates how such differences often contribute to a series of “legitimacy gaps” when compared to commercial fisheries that limit the scope of harvest rights attainable by the recreational sector. We use an urban, recreational-commercial fishery for Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) in British Columbia, Canada, as a case study to demonstrate how discrepancies in requirements and responsibilities between the recreational and commercial sectors limit the scope of harvest rights attainable by the recreational sector. Reducing these discrepancies would help justify the changes to the management framework required to increase recreational access.
Article
Although corruption is often mentioned as an obstacle to fisheries management, its negative effects have seldom been investigated empirically in a systematic manner. This article examines the impact of corruption on regulatory compliance among South African small-scale fishermen. Results from scenario experiments with 181 participants confirm that perceived corruptibility of the enforcing authority corrodes the willingness to comply with regulations. Both grand and petty types of corruption have significant effects. Attitudes related to moral support of the regulations, perceived inclusion in the decision making leading to regulations and an individual record of law breaking all affect the willingness to comply. However, these effects are trumped by the relative size of the negative impact of corruption. These findings underline the importance of curbing corruption involving public officials in the small-scale fisheries sector.
Article
We assessed noncompliance with angling regulations on three Idaho waters using random response, a technique designed to quantify embarrassing or criminal behavior. We searched for associations between positive random response answers and angler regulation awareness across a number of demographic variables. Illegal use of bait and creeling of westslope cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi within two catch-and-release zones ranged from –0.4 to 3.0%. Creeling of illegal-sized cutthroat trout was a more common violation (5 to 8%) in two zones managed with a minimum size regulation. Estimated noncompliance with barbless hook regulations for the same zones was high (29%), but nearly 75% of these violations were accidental. Noncompliance with harvest restrictions was greatest on Henrys Lake where 9.5% of anglers violated the two-trout creel limit each day. We observed statistically significant associations between the types of regulations and angler ability to correctly recite them on a given stream. Several demographic variables including age, residence, and gear type used were also associated with regulation awareness. We conclude that random response is a viable method for estimating rates of angler noncompliance with regulations. Additional analyses are needed to evaluate potential biological effects of noncompliance on the trout populations.
Article
1 Abstract. Few doubt the need for government intervention to manage the use of fisheries resources. The nature of access to fisheries resources means that intervention is required to provide for optimal economic performance and to meet environmental objectives. Management authorities therefore spend considerable funds to conduct stock research, make decisions and enforce those decisions. It is estimated that 36 per cent of all government financial transfers associated with fishery policies in OECD countries 2 are for research, management and enforcement services. At its April 2000 meeting the OECD Fisheries Committee adopted an outline for a study on the costs of these services. The study will explore the extent of these costs and analyze how they vary between countries, fisheries and management systems in use. Further, it will explore how these costs are shared between management authorities (through general budgetary funds) and users of the fisheries resource.
Article
Most regulation studies have used industry output or inputs as the control variable(s), but these are only indirectly controlled by government action through its choice of governing instrument, enforcement procedure, and penalty structure and the operational level of each. A model is developed which demonstrates how profit-maximizing firms will react to these control variables taking into account the benefits (extra production) and costs (possible penalties) of noncompliance and the ability to avoid detection of noncompliance. The optimal operation level for two sets of control variables is derived and discussed.