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Communicating marine conservation (marine conservation awareness and outreach, social media)

Room: Carron A     2014-08-17; 15:00 - 17:00

NB: Unless specified otherwise, presentations are 15 minutes in length, and speed presentations are 5 mins in length.

Chair(s)/Moderator(s): Johns, David

C6.1  15:00  Communicating the importance of identifying source populations for sea turtles caught in fisheries. Stewart, KR *, Ocean Foundation/ NOAA; Dutton, PH NOAA NMFS;

Abstract: It is critical to understand threats to threatened and endangered species throughout their range and particularly for transboundary species that may traverse great distances between foraging and breeding habitats; often policies must be enacted at local, national and international levels to have the maximum benefit. To assess impacts of US fishing practices on distinct and widely distributed nesting populations of leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Atlantic, we characterized turtles caught as bycatch using genetic techniques. We then compared each individual’s genetic signature to those of source nesting populations. For leatherbacks, we analyzed 100 bycatch samples from the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and 220 samples from the Northeast Distant Waters Fishery Zone (NED). We discovered that fisheries in the GOM caught a disproportionate number of turtles from a small stock - Costa Rica, compared to Trinidad. Turtles caught in the NED were primarily from Trinidad, the largest population. A unique collaborative agreement between international data holders laid the foundation for analysis of 1433 loggerhead samples from North Carolina fisheries. Most turtles were from the largest Western Atlantic population (Florida). Our goal is to disseminate results widely beyond the scientific community so that information is accessible to the public and policy makers, through articles and social media.

C6.2  15:15  Navigating success and failure in a sea of ambiguity. Rockwoood, RC *, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0208; Lewis, LS Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0208; Carolina Bonin Orthopedic Surgery Dept., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Elizabeth Keenan Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego; Matt Leslie Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0208; Tessa Pierce Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0208; Brian Zgliczynsky Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0208;

Abstract: Success and failure (S&F) are fundamental drivers of advancement in all fields of science, including conservation. One of the greatest challenges to advancement in this field, however, has been defining and evaluating the efficacy of conservation actions, despite numerous papers having addressed the issue. Without well-defined, widely-accepted definitions of S&F, however, key inferences to be gleaned from past conservation efforts will not contribute to the advancement and improvement of the field. We assessed the variability in perceptions of S&F among an international body of leaders in conservation. We surveyed over 200 attendees at the 2011 IMCC in Victoria, CA; asking each a series of questions to characterize their perceptions of S&F with respect to challenges, outcomes, degrees and definitions. We then evaluated differences in perceptions among different sectors of the conservation community; specifically, by occupation, education, and age. Patterns of perceptions suggest significant work remains so that conservation professionals can communicate effectively about success. We do not suggest a unified, all-encompassing definition of S&F in this paper. Instead, our aim was to (1) quantify the variability in perceptions, (2) explain some of the variability as potential functions of demography, and (3) provide a foundation of understanding such that conservationists can better work together to achieve well-defined, shared goals and learn from well-defined successes and failures.

C6.3  15:30  Lessons learned from social marketing campaigns for marine resource management in Madagascar. Gildas Andriamalala *, Blue Ventures Conservation; Brian Jones Blue Ventures Conservation; Frances Humber Blue Ventures Conservation;

Abstract: Social marketing techniques are increasingly used to promote long-term positive change and engage citizens in marine conservation. Between 2009 and 2012, Blue Ventures ran a series of social marketing campaigns aimed to strengthen the development of locally managed marine areas (LMMA) with Vezo communities, a seafaring tribe depending heavily on marine resources in the southwest Madagascar. Social marketing campaigns were designed, through a series of structured social surveys, to reduce destructive fishing methods and promote temporary fishery closures. Messages were delivered using a variety of materials including boat sails, songs, festivals, and community theatre with messages and slogans tailored for local relevance. Results of post campaign surveys show an increase in community knowledge on fisheries regulations, increased positive attitudes towards the use of marine resources, and changes in targeted behaviours, including a 63% decrease in destructive fishing methods. Integrating community members into social marketing campaigns is an effective tool to increase the spread of messages; as well as the use of imagery and video in low literacy regions. However, having multiple target audiences can complicate campaign strategies, and sufficient research into campaign design is key to ensuring messages are tailored correctly. These lessons learned from Madagascar can guide LMMA practitioners to ensure outreach activities are effective.

C6.4  15:45  Potential applicability of persuasive communication to light-glow reduction efforts: a case study of marine turtle conservation . Kamrowski, RL *, James Cook University; Sutton, SG James Cook University; Tobin, RC James Cook University; Hamann, M James Cook University;

Abstract: Coastal lighting poses a significant threat to marine turtles due to their reliance on brightness cues for sea-finding. Effective management requires widespread support and participation, yet engaging the public with light reduction initiatives is difficult because light at night is integral to modern society. We present a case study from Australia, where a light-reduction campaign was initiated in 2008 to protect loggerhead turtles. Semi-structured questionnaires explored community beliefs about light-reduction, and evaluated the potential of persuasive communication techniques, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991), for increasing engagement with light-reduction. Respondents had moderate to strong intentions to reduce light, and personal norms were the strongest predictor of behavioral intention. Together with significant differences in belief strength between compliers and non-compliers, we suggest that the strongest persuasion potential for future communications may result from targeting the beliefs that reducing light leads to ‘increased protection of local turtles’ and/or ‘benefits to the local economy’, in combination with an appeal to personal norms. Selective legislation and commitment strategies may also be useful approaches to increase community light-reduction. As the significance of artificial light as a pollutant continues to gain attention, this study provides a starting point for necessary research into effectively managing light at night.

C6.5  16:00  How Individuals and Communities Observe, Experience and Adapt to our Changing Marine Environment: A Case Study. Brock, R.J. *, NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center;

Abstract: In late May, 2014, the United States oldest commercial ship still afloat, the 1841 New Bedford-built whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, will embark on a voyage from Mystic Seaport (CT) to several historic New England ports to begin a new chapter in calling attention to the important role that ships and activities (e.g., whaling, fishing) play in this country’s cultural maritime heritage and how these experiences resonate with todays marine biological conservation themes. Whalers had to eventually adapt to whaling no longer being a viable livelihood, ending in the early 1900’s. Turning to fishing in the 1900’s, Provincetown (MA) became a major fishing center. As had occurred with whaling, fishermen have to constantly adapt due to fluctuations in stock sizes, fish distribution, fishing regulations, fuel prices and market demands. Adapting to changing environmental and/or societal conditions is nothing new for the people and communities who rely on the ocean for their livelihoods. From bringing whales back from near extinction to embracing whale watching and sustainable fishing, it is interesting to hear and learn about our changing relationship to the ocean. This talk will describe how coastal communities such as Provincetown and individuals that rely on the ocean for their livelihoods such as past whalers and past and current fishermen and related businesses have had to constantly adapt over the centuries or cease to exist.

C6.6  16:15  Understanding the dynamics and decline of the Hervey Bay, Australia whalewatch industry through passenger surveys. Kaufman, Greg *, Pacific Whale Foundation; Kaufman, Pulama Pacific Whale Foundation;

Abstract: Hervey Bay is promoted as the “whalewatching capital of the Australia”. However, the region has seen a decline in passenger numbers since 1998, likely due to increasing regional competition, changing visitor and commercial operator numbers and profiles, and a changing relationship with marine protected area managers. Results of a survey conducted in 2012 with whalewatchers onboard a Pacific Whale Foundation vessel indicates just over 50% took part in their first whalewatch. For repeat whalewatchers, 40% had already participated on a trip in Hervey Bay. This could be explained by the large majority of passengers were Australians, of which 50% were local residents. Participants in this survey were mainly educated, less than 40 years old, and female. The decision to participate was primarily based on the ablity to support research and conservation efforts, and ticket price. Participants also felt strongly about having an education program for children (83%). As a result of their whalewatch, a large majority of participants were likely to visit Hervey Bay again (90%), do another whalewatch (93%), and recommend it to their friends and family (96%). Although 80% of participants visited Hervey Bay primarily for the opportunity in doing a whalewatch, only 25% would stay longer as a result of taking part. Tour operators would benefit by targeting local female residents, support research and conservation efforts, offer education programs, and incentives to increase passenger numbers.

C6.7  16:30  Marine connections through web streaming interfaces. Irvine, M *, University of Victoria; Kim, M University of Victoria;

Abstract: This paper proposes the use of underwater web cameras as a means to engage citizens in marine awareness and conservation. As a tool, underwater web cameras can facilitate a meaningful connection that allows for simulated marine experiences. Combining live scuba diving events and online control over stationary cameras, citizens are provided with real-time engaging experiences where they can interact with marine life, divers and marine experts. Research suggests that these kinds of interactions effectively promote participatory marine science literacy and marine awareness. As Dr. Sylvia Earle points out in her book The Ocean is Blue, citizens need to know and be aware of marine degradation if they are to take action to care for it. The mobility of underwater live streams allow for interactions with marine sites anytime of the day and on all internet capable devices. Citizens can virtually tune in from distant places and spaces to view the stationary cameras and attend the live events if they are unable to physically. These forms of marine interactions make compelling presentations of marine topics and has a strong potential to motivate citizens to take action as ocean stewards.

C6.8  16:45  Mobilizing more effective support for marine conservation . Johns, DM *, Portland State University and Marine Conservation Institute;

Abstract: The oceans are in serious decline. Those most active in shaping ocean policy are involved in exploiting its fish, minerals, and energy. These interests often possess enormous resources to pursue their favored policies: wealth, societal inertia, organization, access to power and power-holding. In contrast, ocean conservation advocates possess far fewer of the resources necessary to affect ocean policy. Despite MPAs, treaties and other successes less than two percent of the oceans are strictly protected, enforcement is often poor, and marine decline continues. Adequately protecting marine life may require strictly protecting up to 20% (the right 20%) of oceans, including national waters and high seas. Marine conservation advocates currently lack the influence to bring about the fundamental policy change needed. Successful fundamental policy and societal change has always required mass mobilization and grassroots organizing. Effective organizing hinges on NGOs recognizing the need to undertake it and on making ocean issues urgent and personal to influential audiences. Two initial obstacles must be overcomes: a strong cultural heritage that the oceans can absorb unlimited human damage and pollution; and the invisibility of the damage inflicted. Campaigns focused on evoking strong emotion and a violated sense of justice can succeed in overcoming these initial obstacles.

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