Dr. Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins
University of Washington, School of Marine Affairs
“Identifying Best Practices for Promoting Cross-Cultural Adoption of Marine Conservation”
Category: Intercultural Communications, Animal Conservation
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the world’s fisheries discard 7.3 million tons of bycatch each year. One study estimated that in 2000 80 fishing nations set 1.4 billion longline fishing hooks and caught at least 200,000 loggerhead turtles and 50,000 leatherback turtles as bycatch. To combat this problem, innovative scientists and fishermen have produced marine conservation technologies, such as the circle hooks and turtle excluder devices (TEDs), that can reduce bycatch of sea turtles and other species while maintaining high catch levels of the target species. However, many local fishermen in foreign countries are skeptical of U.S. devices and must come to believe that these techniques won’t substantially alter how they fish or affect their profit.
Clearly, marine conservation devices can only be effective if they are used. The inability to secure widespread, long-term, and proper use of these devices is a major hurdle in the race to save sea turtles and other species. In this study, Dr. Jenkins plans to examine current efforts to promote marine conservation technologies cross-culturally and will identify best practices that will facilitate foreign innovation and help illustrate that these technologies balance the desire to protect imperiled species with the fishermen’s need to be profitable. In addition, increased use of circle hooks by foreign fishermen would drastically reduce this bycatch of endangered and threatened sea turtles and help lead to their recovery.