ICES Annual Science Conference 2021

Theme session L

Studying fisher attitudes, behaviour, and beliefs to customize fisheries management

Friday 10 September
15:00-16:00 CEST

​​​​​​​​​​​Fisheries management is meant to influence the behaviour of fishers but few studies have looked at what goes on in the minds of those people who are to be influenced. The study of fishers’ views and attitudes is relatively new, despite much recognition that compliance is influenced by the fishers’ acceptance of the regulations. Therefore, to design effective fisheries management systems, it is important to understand fishers’ beliefs and attitudes and how management systems and regulations affect their daily life and fishing activities. 

Fishers are a heterogeneous group and fisher experience, attitude, and fishing style differs between countries and cultures, as well as between and within fisheries. Individual fishers differ with respect to their financial situation, business structure, attitudes towards new technology, ecological values, religious practices, how strongly they identify with their profession, personality traits such as whether they are risk-averse, cooperative, etc.

Management approaches should therefore accommodate local 
contexts and individual differences, with some approaches more suitable and effective for certain fishers, fisheries, or countries than others. Multiple management approaches that target the divergent fisher types may be necessary to achieve compliance effectively.

Higher levels of voluntary compliance will likely result from designing fisheries management that accounts for personal factors and fisher beliefs. This improved compliance could then reduce the impact costs of non-compliance and implementation costs of traditional deterrence measures such as control and sanctions. 

The conveners invite presentations of research investigating how fishers’ beliefs and attitudes may lead to certain fisheries outcomes, particularly from the social and behavioural sciences, 
with the aim to develop a set of personal, social, and behavioural metrics informing the design of management systems. 
Examples of such research may be mental-modelling and mapping, stakeholder analyses and analyses of factors that affect management-plan acceptance, typologies of fishers based on fishing styles, or compliance experiments combined with surveys of personality traits.

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Sarah B. M Kraak (Germany)
Fanny Barz (Germany)
Mary Mackay (Australia)
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Theme session L

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