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Pest or pastime? Coarse fish in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Freshwater ecosystems are extremely important, both socially and ecologically, in Aotearoa/New Zealand. However, through detrimental practices of land-use change and the introduction of non-indigenous aquatic species, the health of freshwater areas is increasingly under threat. Coarse fish are one group of non indigenous fish that are largely perceived to have a negative effect on freshwater biodiversity and water quality. Despite this, there are people in New Zealand that value coarse fish highly, and consider their lives to be enriched through the practice of coarse angling. This thesis examines the diversity of perceptions and values ascribed to coarse fish by a variety of different environmental managers and resource users to understand how these multiple meanings influence approaches to freshwater biodiversity management in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As coarse anglers are often considered responsible for deliberate translocation of coarse fish, a space for communication and compromise between these stakeholder groups is also identified. Additionally, appropriate and effective educational methods to raise awareness of freshwater ecosystem restoration and non-indigenous invasive fish are discussed. Social factors are often the primary determinants of whether conservation efforts succeed or fail. Grounded in the theoretical perspectives of social construction, environmental perception, political ecology, and critical environmental adult education, this thesis provides an important contribution to the practice of interdisciplinary research by demonstrating the ways in which social science complements scientific approaches to environmental management. Utilising semi structured interviews with multiple stakeholder groups and an internet survey targeted at coarse anglers this research found that, while a multitude of perceptions of coarse fish exist, there is also willingness on both sides to engage in communication and develop effective practices to aid in managing the freshwater environment. A number of suggestions for improving legislation that addresses invasive freshwater fish, and several ideas regarding education and compliance, also emerged.
Type of thesis
Carter, K. S. (2009). Pest or pastime? Coarse fish in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2790
The University of Waikato
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