Challenges of Incentivizing Avoidance of Unwanted Catch

Small Fishing Boat

ROSA Research Director Mike Pol and Dr. Christos Maravelias of the University of Thessaly, Greece recently collaborated to write and Introduction and Summary to a Themed Set in the ICES Journal of Marine Science titled Challenges to incentivizing avoidance of unwanted catch.

A Themed Set is a collection of scientific publications on a common topic. In this case, Pol teamed with other international researchers to promote investigation into the challenges of encouraging fishermen to use new, more selective fishing gears, or to collaborate to avoid high bycatch areas in the sea. The Themed Set attracted many papers, of which 18 were accepted. As creators and editors of the Themed Set, Pol and Maravelias were tasked to write an Introduction to very briefly summarize what was found and what was left unanswered.

Pol, with co-authors Lekelia Jenkins of Arizona State University, Stephen Eayrs of Smart Fishing Consulting, Australia, and Katie Thompson of the Ocean Foundation, Washington, also contributed a paper to this set titled, Uptake of proven bycatch reduction fishing gear: perceived best practices and the role of affective change readiness. This paper continued some investigations Pol began before arriving at ROSA seeking which sought to understand the barriers for the fishing industry to start using more selective gears developed by gear scientists. This paper considered that our understanding of these barriers and the uptake practice is poor, and suggests that change agents are limited in their abilities and tools to accomplish uptake. The paper also proposes a behavioral model for furthering our understanding that includes affective change readiness, an emotional component of humans reacting to change initiatives.