From hunters to nature observers: a record of 53 years of diver attitudes towards sharks and rays and marine protected areas

Whatmough, Sally, Van Putten, Ingrid, and Chin, Andrew (2011) From hunters to nature observers: a record of 53 years of diver attitudes towards sharks and rays and marine protected areas. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 (6). pp. 755-763.

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Abstract

Human values, perceptions, attitudes and interactions with the natural environment have been found to change over time, with social and economic information used to inform management decisions and actions. Content analysis is applied here to a 53-year long collection of the popular dive magazine, SportDiving, to identify recreational divers' experiences with regard to sharks and rays, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and marine protected areas (MPAs). This analysis suggests there has been a diversification of diver activities with the emergence of passive-observational activities such as SCUBA diving. Attitudes towards sharks and rays have changed significantly, with recreational divers changing from a group that could be described as adventure-seeking hunters to a group that can be described as nature-appreciating observers, suggesting an increase in conservation awareness. The GBR continues to be a highly regarded dive destination, with divers perceiving positive effects of protection within MPAs. However, declines in the abundance of large fish and sharks and rays were occasionally reported throughout the 53 year period. Collectively, these types of data can show changes in resource-use patterns, perceptions and attitudes and provide information that supplements scientific monitoring data. These data may be valuable where scientific data is scarce, historical records difficult to obtain, and where attitudinal change can significantly affect future resource use.

Item ID: 19978
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: content analysis Great Barrier Reef perceptions SCUBA diver spearfishing GREAT-BARRIER-REEF PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS CORAL-REEFS CONSERVATION AUSTRALIA INFORMATION POPULATIONS MANAGEMENT TOURISM
ISSN: 1448-6059
Funders: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 06:45
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 60%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 40%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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