Exploring coastal residents' relationship with the ocean and seals in Newfoundland, Canada

Engel, Monica Tais (2021) Exploring coastal residents' relationship with the ocean and seals in Newfoundland, Canada. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Humans have a deep and historical connection with the ocean. At the same time, anthropogenic activities are impacting the environment and changing the oceans’ physical and biological characteristics. It is recognized that people’s values and behaviours are the major factors influencing the direct (e.g., pollution, climate change) and indirect (e.g., socioeconomic, political) impacts on the ocean. This doctoral research emerged from the need to ensure that present and future generations will get it right when it comes to marine governance and conservation. The overarching goal is to assess individuals’ relationship with the ocean through examining value orientations, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, mental images and behaviours related to marine conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. The study was conducted across coastal communities on the island portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is grounded in the marine social sciences and integrates disciplines such as human dimensions of natural resources and environmental psychology. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire containing both quantitative and qualitative data. A total of 776 questionnaires were completed (49% response rate). While chapters 2 and 3 provide a broader perspective of the people/ocean relationship from a utilitarian and conservation angle, chapter 4 addresses the issue of seal hunting, thus focusing on the use and management of a specific marine resource. Results show that people, in general, value the ocean for its intrinsic and instrumental values, care about it, feel that they should be doing more for marine health, accept using the sea for fisheries more so than for oil and gas exploration, and fear about the future. The ways in which people imagine the ocean influence their thoughts and behaviours and reveal that the ocean is much more than a food and income provider. The ocean is beautiful, mysterious, dangerous; it is blue, cold, and fresh. The ocean is fish, seals, whales and puffins; it is boats, vacation and relaxation. But the ocean is also pollution, plastics and greed. The ocean is changing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14941
Item ID: 14941
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 121-146).
Keywords: Atlantic Ocean; marine social sciences; human dimensions; values; seal
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: February 2021
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Marine ecosystem health; Ocean and civilization; Coasts--Newfoundland and Labrador--Population--Attitudes;

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