Effects of increases in fishery resource abundance on conservation compliance
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Effects of increases in fishery resource abundance on conservation compliance

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  • Journal Title:
    Marine Policy
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    Understanding compliance is important for understanding the effectiveness of conservation. This study examines conservation compliance in the American lobster fishery in Maine. In this fishery, an important conservation measure that protects spawning female lobsters, known as v-notching, is considered a norm. This conservation rule is primarily self-enforced, but evidence suggests that its compliance rate may be declining. We analyzed semi-structured and oral history interviews to understand v-notching compliance and lobster fishers' perceptions of v-notching. All lobster fishers interviewed described v-notching as important for the lobster fishery's sustainability, while also reporting that the v-notching practice has been declining in recent years. Conservation compliance changed as the benefits of conservation changed. Because of large lobster catches, lobster fishers have begun to question whether v-notching is as necessary as it was in the past. High catches in recent years also created time constraints on board the vessel that limit the ability to v-notch. Long-term changes in abundance and consequently landings impacted the norm of v-notching. Under new conditions of the lobster resource, v-notching as a norm may be weakened, as there are now conflicting views on the benefits of v-notching. The implications of a reduction in v-notching may be significant for the future sustainability of this fishery given studies that have shown the conservation value of this practice. This study highlights the importance of considering changes in conservation compliance in adaptive management plans due to changes in benefits and costs caused by changing resource conditions.
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    Marine Policy, 122, 104217
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    Accepted Manuscript
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