'It's part of me'; understanding the values, images and principles of coastal users and their influence on the social acceptability of MPAs

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Marine Policy, 2015, 52 pp. 93 - 102
Issue Date:
2015-02-01
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© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Improving the social acceptability or 'social licence' of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is a key challenge facing countries all around the world. As the world moves slowly towards the establishment of a global network of MPAs, it is increasingly apparent that a greater understanding of social responses to MPAs is required, given they are often met with resistance from local communities. A series of in-depth, semi structured interviews were conducted across coastal users in New South Wales, Australia, including surfers, recreational fishers, professional fishers, spearfishers, walkers, divers, snorkellers, kayakers and other community members. The research identified the values, images and principles at work amongst coastal users to determine the dominant 'cultural models' within the community and how these models influenced attitudes towards MPAs. This research indicates that traditional consultation models may not be sufficient to address the full spectrum of community needs, and in fact suggests the need to re-conceive the make -up of 'the community' itself. In the context of MPA planning 'the community' is not an amalgamation of a range of homogenous stakeholder groups but instead a diverse and complex mix of identities and value systems which are not confined to particular interest groups. Incorporating consideration of the diverse range of values, images and principles found within and across stakeholder groups will require new and innovative approaches to participation and management.
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