Identifying perceptions using a market-testing tool
Profit is an important driver of fishers’ behaviour. Thus, identifying fishers’ regulatory preferences in economic terms can assist the creation of more acceptable, workable and sustainable policies. The Adaptive Conjoint Analysis (ACA) method was adapted from its original application as a marketing tool to identify fishers’ most and least preferred regulatory obligations in terms of the impact these obligations have on their income. Significant differences were identified in fishers’ preferences that depended on the regulatory measures fishers operated under at the time of the study (which related to the fishery and the region in which the fishers belonged). All fishers agreed that access to resources, i.e. how much access they have within a certain sea area was most important for their income. However, there were differences in fishers’ preferences with regards to the majority of regulatory measures; inshore fishers preferred restrictions related to the category ‘Days at Sea’ rather than ‘Total Allowable Catches’, and vice versa for offshore fishers. Fishers’ preferences varied most for ‘Enforcement and Compliance’ related obligations with the general trend being that fishers tend to prefer the measure with which they are most accustomed. This paper emphasises the need for additional knowledge at a more localised level on fishers’ regulatory perceptions. Such knowledge will allow regulators to account for fishers’ perceptions and attitudes towards regulatory measures when formulating legislation. Accounting for perceptions and attitudes of the relevant stakeholders will assist the successful implementation of new measures by providing relevant incentives and mitigation measures.