This piece of work was undertaken to support DOCs overarching strategic goal to reduce the recreational bycatch of marine protected species. To achieve this, DOC first needs to gain a better understanding of the nature and extent of this conservation issue via in-depth research and quantification of recreational fishing bycatch of marine protected species in New Zealand. The primary objective of this project was to understand how DOC can engage effectively, in future data-collection studies with Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi partner (Te Ohu Kaimoana), key stakeholders, and recreational fishers. The key output was to develop a robust, evidence-based engagement framework for DOC to lead, facilitate, and bind all communications and engagement on this conservation issue. This report provides base information and recommended actions for DOC to discuss and refine with its Treaty Partner, and with other stakeholders.
Evidence for this framework was gained by understanding the views of Te Ohu Kaimoana, key stakeholder groups, and recreational fishers in relation to bycatch of marine protected species and their perceived roles and responsibilities. Having a clear understanding of stakeholder issues, their motivations for engagement and participation in the measurement of bycatch is important, both early in the engagement process, and ongoing, in order to gain social licence for the measurement of bycatch. Underpinning the primary objective were more specific informational objectives. These included gaining understanding of:
- The motivators and barriers to social licence
- The needs of stakeholders
- The barriers and motivators to self-reporting bycatch data
The research findings clearly showed the need for active stakeholder involvement, education and further clarification on the actions of those most likely to catch marine protected species on fishing trips, and those who are least likely to report their bycatch. The findings also provide good insights into what reporting tools would have the biggest levels of support. Importantly, a combination of approaches is required. No one approach will suffice. To improve recreational fisher community understanding of marine protected species, the proof of their endangerment, and to encourage support of active and consistent reporting, we need recreational fishers to provide a social licence.
The recommended Two Stage Engagement Framework brings together the research findings and creates a new ecology for change. It draws on SenateSHJ’s SUDA (Side stream, Upstream, Downstream and Action) model and the Social Movement behaviour change theory to create and evolve a ‘productive conversation’, and then spark action.
As a crucial element in the pathway to stakeholder engagement, it is recommended that DOC develop both a National Stakeholder Working Group (NSWG) as the governing body of this project, and a Regional/Local Stakeholder Working Group (RSWG) to run a pilot trial of the communication programme. To further support the engagement framework, it is recommended that additional research be conducted to support the rationale for the targeted programme and that supplementary stakeholder analysis to be conducted into key information needs of each stakeholder group based on the initial research findings. If this additional analysis is followed by the development of strategic, decentralised messaging, a detailed stakeholder engagement plan, and a robust communications plan, DOC will have strong foundations in place to commence the journey to gaining social licence with recreation fishers for the self-reporting of bycatch of marine protected species.