University Of Tasmania

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A nudge in the right direction : the role of incentives on behaviour and preferences in recreational fisheries

posted on 2023-05-28, 10:15 authored by Mary MackayMary Mackay
Marine recreational fisheries are ecologically, culturally, and economically important. However, ensuring effective management and compliance is notoriously difficult due to factors such asextensive coastlines, the sparse nature of recreational fishing, and lack of formal management infrastructure. Overcoming these obstacles is facilitated by fulfilling a wide range of objectives of recreational fisheries management. This is integral to ensuring sustainability, however, the effective management of recreational fisheries is further complicated due to diverse motivations of recreational fishing and uncertainty in fishers' behavioural responses to management changes. Understanding the behavioural aspect or human dimensions of recreational fisheries management is necessary for effective evidence-based policy making, which contributes to fulfilling the management objectives. This thesis contributes towards more effective understanding of fishers by investigating the compliance behaviour and preferences within recreational fisheries management. Fisheries compliance literature recognises the integral role that behavioural incentives, such as social norms, morals and, legitimacy play in the compliance decision-making process. The overall objective of this thesis is to explore the role of behavioural incentives on compliance behaviour in recreational fisheries management and explore management preferences of fishers. This objective is addressed in the six subsequent chapters of this thesis. First, a general introduction of the context of the thesis is presented (Chapter 1). Chapter 2 explores the potential of behavioural based recreational fisheries management in detail through a narrative review of the relevant literature. Specifically, it, explores the use of nudges, which are behavioural tools that aim through subtle changes and indirect suggestion to make certain decisions more salient. Chapter 3 empirically explores the influence of a descriptive social norm nudge on compliance behaviour and compares it with a traditionally used deterrence method of inspection. This is done through an economic laboratory experiment in a recreational fisheries context. The results show that the presence of descriptive social norm nudge can increase compliance behaviour but to a lesser extent than an increase in deterrence. Chapter 4 explores the results of this experiment further by investigating the relationship between behavioural drivers and compliance responses. Information for five psycho-social drivers - expectations of others' behaviour, social norms, ecological values, personality types, and risk preferences - was collected for each participant by survey. The results highlight patterns in psycho-social drivers and behavioural responses, which vary depending on the compliance incentive method applied to encourage compliance behaviour. Chapter 5 empirically explores the management preferences within a consumptive recreational fishery in Tasmania, Australia, with the aim of identifying the preferences of heterogeneous recreational fishers. This was conducted using a combination of a discrete choice experiment and an opinion-based phone survey. Results show that homogenous preferences were related to management that had a direct impact on catch, whereas heterogeneous preferences were found around management tools that had an indirect impact on catch. Together this research highlights several drivers of heterogeneity within recreational fishing management; from opposing responses to compliance incentives to varying psycho-social make-up within behavioural groups to divergent management preferences. The results of the research within this thesis provide empirical evidence of alternative compliance tools, such as nudges as well as drivers of different behaviours and opinions. The findings underline the importance of nuance and heterogeneity of fishers, behaviours, and drivers in the context of recreational fisheries. Knowledge of this variability encourages better integration of accurate human dimensions and can advance recreational fisheries towards innovation and increased effectiveness.


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Copyright 2019 the author Chapter 2 appears to be the equivalent of a pre-print version of an article published as: Mackay, M., Jennings, S., van Putten, E. I., Silby, H., Yamazaki, S., 2018. When push comes to shove in recreational fishing compliance, think ‚ÄövÑv=nudge', Marine policy, 95, 256-266 Chapter 5 appears to be the equivalent of a pre-print version of an article published as: Mackay, M., Yamazaki, S., Lyle, J. M., Ogier, E. M., 2020. Determining management preferences in a multimethod consumptive recreational fishery, Ecology and society 25(2), 22. Copyright Copyright 2020 by the author(s). Published under license by The Resilience Alliance. The article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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