Investigating saltwater anglers' value orientations, beliefs and attitudes related to marine protected areas
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have received much attention recently as an innovative approach to restoring and protecting valued ocean resources. The acceptability of MPAs in the U.S. will depend, to a large extent, on society's perceptions regarding the relevant costs and benefits of such areas. In order to incorporate social impact information into marine resource management decisions, it is necessary to study the values, beliefs and attitudes of affected stakeholders. The cognitive hierarchy model provides a theoretical framework for understanding relationships among these cognitions. According to this model, value orientations and beliefs can directly influence attitudes toward a particular attitude object. This study utilized the cognitive hierarchy model to investigate relationships among saltwater anglers' value orientations, beliefs and attitudes connected with MPAs. The moderating effects of recreation specialization and MPA knowledge on these relationships were also explored. Data were collected using a mail survey sent to a representative sample of private boat saltwater anglers in the Northeast United States. Attitudes were measured for four types of hypothetical MPAs ranging from least to most restrictive on saltwater anglers. Three value orientations (biocentric/anthropocentric, general marine resource values, and open access/ocean zoning) and three higher order beliefs (health of the oceans, impact of recreational fishing, and long-term effect of recreational catch reductions on fishing quality) were measured. Ocean zoning/open access value orientation and beliefs about the ocean's health were the best predictors of MPA attitudes. As hypothesized, anglers with ocean zoning value orientations hold more favorable attitudes towards marine protected areas than do anglers with open access value orientations. Similarly, anglers who believe that the oceans are in poor health hold more favorable attitudes towards marine protected areas than do anglers who believe the oceans are relatively healthy. Recreation specialization and MPA knowledge were not found to have a moderating effect for most cognitive relationships tested. However, for highly specialized anglers, the variable measuring beliefs about the impact of recreational fishing on the marine environment was significantly correlated with attitudes towards the MPA alternative allowing only “catch and release” recreational fishing. Implications of these results for marine resource policy and management are discussed.
0792: Fish production
0768: Environmental science
0451: Social psychology