Behavioural interventions Evaluation Marine conservation Spotlight

Behaviour change to curb marine pollution from boats

Kusmanoff, A. M., McIntosh, R. R., Boag, S., & Bekessy, S. A. (2022). “Bins on boats”, a behaviourally‐based intervention to curb marine pollution in Bass Strait, Australia. Conservation Science and Practice, 4(4), e12659.

In a nutshell: To address fur seal entanglement in Victoria Australia, park managers partnered with the trawl fishing industry and researchers to successfully apply behavioural science to understanding and addressing the key driver of this entanglement.

In an effort to add some independence to this summary (given that I’m an author on the paper), as well as to appear as though I’m keeping up with the contemporary zeitgeist (and not to mention an abundance of laziness) I’ve asked ChatGPT to summarise the paper in 150 words:

The “bins on boats” project in Victoria, Australia aimed to reduce marine pollution and entanglement of Australian fur seals on the Victorian coastline. The program was a collaboration between conservation managers, industry, government, and researchers, and it demonstrated the value of taking a behavioral approach to program design. The problem was identified as entanglement in commercial trawl net fragments and recreational fishing line by Australian fur seals, and the root cause was determined to be human behavior. By working with fishers, the project team found that waste was being blown or washed overboard from open rubbish bins on fishing vessels. The intervention focused on installing appropriate bins on fishing vessels and promoting their use through appropriate labeling. Funding from the government allowed for the procurement of the bins, and collaboration with industry ensured that the bins were appropriately designed for the needs of vessel operators. The project was successful in addressing the problem of marine pollution and entanglement of Australian fur seals.

Perhaps you’d like to grade ChatGPT’s performance by reading the paper yourself?

Further to ChatGPT’s effortlessly produced and reasonably serviceable summary, I’d also add that the Bins on Boats program:

  • Represents a successful case study in how conservation managers, industry, government, and researchers can collaborate to achieve conservation outcomes;
  • Demonstrates the value of using a behaviour-based approach in intervention design; and
  • Represents an all-too-rare occurrence of program evaluation.

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