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Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


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Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


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Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Confronting non-compliance in marine reserves


Thursday, 23rd of October 2014; 12:00 to 13:00 hrs.

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville; video-linked to the University of Queensland (GCI Boardroom, Level 7, Gehrmann Building 60.
Brock Bergseth, ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies, JCU, Townsville
Brock Bergseth, ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies, JCU, Townsville

Abstract:  Stakeholder compliance is a vital component of successful fisheries management. However, non-compliance is often the rule rather than the exception, and many fisheries management authorities simply note that detailed compliance information or monitoring programs are beyond their current scope. Marine reserves are increasingly popular fisheries management and conservation tools, but the majority of the world’s reserves are not managed to effectively enforce compliance. Thus, effective marine reserves are contingent upon a proper understanding of the compliance problems, including representative measurements of non-compliance, and understanding of the drivers of compliance decisions. Thus, the aim of this project is to examine the methods used to measure compliance, and explore the drivers of recreational fishers’ compliance decisions. Specifically, this project will validate novel compliance measurement methods, cross-validate different methods for eliciting sensitive information on poaching, and examine how normative influences (i.e. social and personal norms) and institutional design principles affect individual’s compliance decisions. Research outputs of this project will be of direct relevance to fisheries management and the field of conservation biology.


Brock grew up in rural Minnesota baling hay, wrangling horses, and trapping the odd backcountry beaver. He quickly developed a love of the outdoors and the natural world while quietly observing the role that humans play as environmental stewards. During his travels through India, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, he witnessed a seemingly widespread lack of environmental knowledge and stewardship that resulted in the degradation of the regions’ natural resources, including the coral reefs. After several sunset reflection sessions, Brock decided to continue racking up his student debt and complete a masters degree in marine biology at JCU. During his time at JCU, Brock has begun exploring how fishers and other resource users interact with the marine environment and the management systems that are in place to preserve it. He is currently a PhD candidate in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies under the supervision of Prof. Josh Cinner, Prof. Terry Hughes, Prof. Garry Russ, Dr. Stephen Sutton and Dr. David Williamson. His PhD will explore the social and ecological dynamics of stakeholder compliance to fisheries management regulations, with an emphasis on no-take marine reserves.


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