Sánchez-Jiménez, Astrid, MacMillan, Douglas, Wolff, Matthias, Schlüter, Achim and Fujitani, Marie (2021) The Importance of Values in Predicting and Encouraging Environmental Behavior: Reflections From a Costa Rican Small-Scale Fishery. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8 . p. 543075. DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.543075.

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Abstract

Encouraging people’s pro-environmental behaviors is an objective of Education for Sustainable Development. In the context of small-scale fisheries, unsustainable fishing practices are compromising the integrity of coastal communities and ecosystems. Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) is an ecosystem modeling software that presents interactions/changes in the food web as a result of fishing. Despite the multiple applications of EwE in fisheries management, it is unknown from a quantitative perspective whether the application of EwE trophic modeling in environmental education processes and management produces effects on norms and ecological beliefs, and if it alters behavioral intentions of the participants receiving ecosystem modeling information. We conducted a behavior change intervention with gillnet fishers in the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica, to compare antecedents of pro-environmental behavior between participants who received an ecosystem-based intervention (lectures containing EwE models; treatment) and those who received lectures that didn’t involve EwE (control). Based on theories of environmental psychology, we used a pre–post survey design, to evaluate changes between control/treatment, and to assess the influence of psychometric constructs and fishing characteristics on the behavioral intentions to support sustainable fishing measures and owning a fishing license (revealed behavior). Personal norms and values were significant at explaining management measures’ support, along with some fishing characteristics (e.g., fishing site). Deliberating about possible future scenarios (via EwE-modeling) helped reduce uncertainties, increasing legitimacy and a perceived behavioral control (PBC) to support measures. Currently, licenses in the Gulf aren’t granted under defined ecological criteria, and although altruistic-biospheric values scored highly before the intervention began, due to mistrust and high illegal-unlicensed fishing, fishers may be underestimating how much others care about the environment. Value-oriented and ecosystem-based interventions may assist to effectively redesign the licensing system and encourage fishers to support sustainable measures. Our research indicates the importance of education interventions that teach about the impacts of fishing in the ecosystem while helping participants to perceive themselves as capable of implementing actions (PBC) and expressing biospheric-altruistic values to restore trust. Redirecting human behaviors to reconnect with ecosystem resilience can be a leverage point for sustainability and for the compliance of small-scale fisheries management measures.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area (enter as: PA1/PA2/PA3/PA4/PA5): PA4
Research affiliation: Theoretical Ecology and Modelling > Resource Management
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Social Sciences > Institutional and Behavioural Economics
Social Sciences > Deliberation, Valuation and Sustainability
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.543075
ISSN: 2296-7745
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2021 13:38
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2021 13:38
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/4630

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