The North America Congress for Conservation Biology was held last week virtually, and they had a track on conservation marketing. One of the talks featured a program called “Fish Forever” that’s a collaborative community-based effort coordinated by the NGO Rare as well as academic partners including the University of California, Santa Barbara. An article about the program was published (open access) in Conservation Biology earlier this year. The process included three phases, (1) generating collective demand, (2), coordinating a shift in behavior, and (3) strengthening the new norm. They described the approach as “dynamic programming” consisting of their psychosocial theory of change coupled with pulse monitoring of the psychological state of the community (via surveys and a new text messaging approach they’re testing out). The pulse monitoring allowed them to change course while still delivering the program if deemed necessary. The Fish Forever program focused on shifting social norms through social marketing to promote knowledge, attitudes, and interpersonal communication related to sustainable fishing behavior. They also provided decision-support toolkits that were “used by local campaign managers who facilitated participatory processes involving fishers, government, and other local stakeholders.” The research design included intervention and control sites and was carried out in three countries. Their results (via surveys and ecological monitoring) showed “positive impacts on all community‐support indicators” which “suggested that the Fish Forever intervention created the social conditions needed for shifting behavior toward more sustainable fishing practices.”
“Fish Forever” Program’s Psychosocial Theory of Change and Use of Social Marketing Strategies
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This program sounds really interesting. I'm especially interested in how they used 'pulse monitoring' to track progress. From my research so far, it seems that behaviour change programs often focus on the short-term, but in doing so the long-term maintenance of the behaviour(s) is not well managed. This idea of consistently staying in tune with the collective psyche of the community is brilliant and I can see why it would contribute to a shift toward sustainable fishing practices. Thanks for sharing!