Project 4.8.8

Motivation to comply with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning plan

Project Leader: Dr Steve Sutton, JCU

The success of the zoning plan for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in terms of increasing reef resilience, biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries management is wholly dependent on compliance by users. This MTSRF-funded pilot project investigated the motivations of recreational and commercial fishers to comply with the zoning plan. Fisheries Queensland provided inspection and compliance rate data for recreational and commercial finfish fisheries on Queensland’s east coast from 2004-2009. Regulations for compliance included both fisheries and marine park regulations. These data provided an opportunity to compare compliance rates between sectors, fisheries, regions, and years. In particular the comparison between sectors and fisheries provides some insight into potential for the differing drivers affecting compliance rates. Researchers then conducted a more general literature review into compliance drivers, motivations, attitudes and resulting behaviours of both recreational and commercial fishers, including potential methods available to investigate these compliance motivations and behaviours. This is a difficult topic to discuss with resource users, and must be approached with care. However, improved knowledge of compliance behaviour and why fishers choose to comply with regulations has important implications for overall sustainability of fisheries and the success of the zoning plan for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.