Home Institution

Colby College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology


The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) provides outstanding ecological, cultural, social, and economic services to the number of communities that use it. Most of the park is regulated via a zoning system designed to protect its biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of its resources (GBRMPA, 2004). Like any social institution, zoning regulations rely heavily on compliance in order to be effective. Recreational fishing on the GBRMP accounts for most of the noncompliance behavior associated with zoning (Arias and Sutton, 2013). Thus, understanding fishers compliance behavior is central to understanding how to best manage these areas. Using results from a survey conducted on recreational fishermen over a period of four weeks, this study explores the attitudes and beliefs of fishers on the GBRMP. It also uses data on fishers’ consumptive orientation and the importance of fishing to their lifestyle to determine if differences among fishers in these categories lead to different perceived social norms. Finally, It assesses the perceived level of the legitimacy of authorities on the GBRMP, and how that perception influences compliance behavior.

I find that the mean perceived norm among fishers on the GBRMP is that about 8.35% of fishers practice noncompliance. Fishers with a higher consumptive orientation tend to estimate higher levels of noncompliance than those with a lower consumptive orientation. Additionally, fishers who say that fishing is their most important activity are more likely to perceive a more compliant norm than those who do not consider fishing to be the most important activity to them. Finally, fishers tend to personally identify with marine parks personnel, and have a strong personal moral obligation to abide by zoning regulations. There seems to be a fairly strong perceived social norm positively affecting fishers’ decisions to comply with zoning regulations.


Animal Sciences | Aquaculture and Fisheries | Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Nature and Society Relations | Place and Environment | Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration


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