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Public Attitudes Toward Lake Champlain Cormorants: Nuisance or Scapegoat? Walter F. Kuentzel David E. Capen Zoe Richards (University of Vermont) Bryan.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Attitudes Toward Lake Champlain Cormorants: Nuisance or Scapegoat? Walter F. Kuentzel David E. Capen Zoe Richards (University of Vermont) Bryan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Attitudes Toward Lake Champlain Cormorants: Nuisance or Scapegoat? Walter F. Kuentzel David E. Capen Zoe Richards (University of Vermont) Bryan Higgins (SUNY – Plattsburgh)

2 Erhai Lake Photo: Rachel King -

3 A Problem Species

4

5 The Human Dimension Knowledge Attitudes Impact on the Fishery Social Acceptability

6 Management Control and Public Controversy Nuisance Species vs. Animal Rights

7 Attitude Strength Extremity Importance Knowledge Acceptance/Rejection Direct Experience

8 Conceptual Model User Groups Management Control Knowledge Importance Experience Latitudes Knowledge Importance Experience Latitudes Cormorant Attitudes Fishery Impact Attitude Strength Dimensions

9 Methods Mailed Survey Anglers Recreational Boaters (non-anglers) Conservation Organizations Audubon (Green Mountain, Otter Creek) Lake Champlain Committee Lakeshore Homeowners (VT & NY) 1195 Questionnaires Mailed 769 Returned (64% response rate)

10 Knowledge False Statements (e.g.): Cormorants eat three or more times their weight in fish each day Cormorants are large birds weighing approximately 20 pounds True Statements (e.g.): Cormorants will gather in flocks of 1000 or more when they are feeding Yellow perch are the most common food item for cormorants 4-Point Scale: 1= Definitely not, 2=Maybe not, 3=Maybe yes, 4=Definitely yes 13-item additive scale

11 Cormorant Attitudes Positive Statements (e.g.): A large nesting colony of cormorants is an impressive sight Cormorants are an important part of the Lake Champlain ecosystem Negative Statements (e.g.): Cormorants have become a nuisance species on Lake Champlain If it were legal, I would shoot any cormorant that came near me 5-Point Scale: 1= Strongly disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Neither agree nor disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strong agree 10-Item Additive Scale (α =.89)

12 Effect on Fishery Cormorant Impacts on the Fishery Positive Statements (e.g.): Cormorants are used as a scapegoat for Lake Champlain fisheries problems Cormorants cannot possibly eat enough to reduce Lake Champlain sport fish Negative Statements (e.g.): I would catch more fish on Lake Champlain if there were fewer cormorants The future of Lake Champlain bass tournaments is threatened by cormorants 5-Point Scale: 1= Strongly disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Neither agree nor disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strong agree 10-Item Additive Scale (α =.90)

13 Management Control Management Controls Support Statements (e.g.): Cormorants should be eliminated from Lake Champlain There should be an open season for the public to hunt cormorants Opposition Statements (e.g.): It is not necessary to control the cormorant population on Lake Champlain Shooting cormorants to control their population is unethical 5-Point Scale: 1= Strongly disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Neither agree nor disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strong agree 8-Item Additive Scale (α =.85)

14 Other Variables Importance (Single Item, 4-Point Scale) I am concerned that there are too many cormorants on Lake Champlain Latitude of Acceptance/Rejection (Additive Scale) Expected minus Preferred number of cormorants seen flying in a flock Expected minus Preferred number of cormorants seen nesting on an island Direct Experience (Additive Scale) Number of recreational activities participated in on Lake Champlain Number of days spent recreating on Lake Champlain in previous 12 months Frequency of recreation participation on Lake Champlain over the years Number of recreational boats owned

15 User Group Differences AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5 AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5 AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5 AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5 AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5 AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5 AnglersBoatersConservationHomeownersF Knowledge3.3 a 3.6 a 4.6 b 4.5 b 2.8 Importance3.7 d 3.2 b 2.9 a 3.5 c 31.0 Direct Experience-0.3 b 0.1 b -1.1 a 1.3 c 32.0 Acceptance/ Rejection3.7 b 2.7 a 2.1 a 3.9 b 14.8 Cormorant Attitudes-9.7 a -2.7 c 0.1 d -5.9 b 57.2 Fishery Impacts-7.7 a -2.8 c 0.1 d -5.5 b 49.4 Management Control8.3 a 3.4 c 1.4 d 5.4 b 45.5

16 Predicting Support for Management Control Knowledge Knowledge Management Control Cormorant Attitudes Fishery Impact Importance Acceptance/ Rejection Direct Experience * * - Standardized Coefficients Model Fit - Χ 2 =23.6 (4), CFI=.99

17 Predicting Support for Management Control Knowledge Management Control Cormorant Attitudes Fishery Impact Importance Acceptance/ Rejection Direct Experience * * - Standardized Coefficients Model Fit - Χ 2 =23.6 (4), CFI=.99

18 Predicting Support for Management Control Knowledge Management Control Cormorant Attitudes Fishery Impact Importance Acceptance/ Rejection Direct Experience * * - Standardized Coefficients Model Fit - Χ 2 =23.6 (4), CFI=.99

19 Predicting Support for Management Control Knowledge Management Control Cormorant Attitudes Fishery Impact Importance Acceptance/ Rejection Direct Experience * * - Standardized Coefficients Model Fit - Χ 2 =23.6 (4), CFI=.99

20 Predicting Support for Management Control Knowledge Management Control Cormorant Attitudes Fishery Impact Importance Acceptance/ Rejection Direct Experience * * - Standardized Coefficients Model Fit - Χ 2 =23.6 (4), CFI=.99

21 Take Away Points Who hates cormorants? 1/3 negative, 1/4 positive, the rest are ambivalent User groups Anglers and lakeshore homeowners most likely to dislike cormorants Conservation members least troubled by cormorants Educating the Public More knowledge = more positive attitudes/less support for control Not to pick on anglers, but… Scored highest on self-rated wildlife knowledge scale Scored lowest on cormorant knowledge scale Fitting beliefs to attitudes? Native/Newcomer? Anglers – younger, male, less education & income, rural residence Conservation – older, more education & income, urban residence Who hates cormorants? 1/3 negative, 1/4 positive, the rest are ambivalent User groups Anglers and lakeshore homeowners most likely to dislike cormorants Conservation members least troubled by cormorants Educating the Public More knowledge = more positive attitudes/less support for control Not to pick on anglers, but… Scored highest on self-rated wildlife knowledge scale Scored lowest on cormorant knowledge scale Fitting beliefs to attitudes? Native/Newcomer? Anglers – younger, male, less education & income, rural residence Conservation – older, more education & income, urban residence Who hates cormorants? 1/3 negative, 1/4 positive, the rest are ambivalent User groups Anglers and lakeshore homeowners most likely to dislike cormorants Conservation members least troubled by cormorants Educating the Public More knowledge = more positive attitudes/less support for control Not to pick on anglers, but… Scored highest on self-rated wildlife knowledge scale Scored lowest on cormorant knowledge scale Fitting beliefs to attitudes? Native/Newcomer? Anglers – younger, male, less education & income, rural residence Conservation – older, more education & income, urban residence Who hates cormorants? 1/3 negative, 1/4 positive, the rest are ambivalent User groups Anglers and lakeshore homeowners most likely to dislike cormorants Conservation members least troubled by cormorants Educating the Public More knowledge = more positive attitudes/less support for control Not to pick on anglers, but… Scored highest on self-rated wildlife knowledge scale Scored lowest on cormorant knowledge scale Fitting beliefs to attitudes? Native/Newcomer? Anglers – younger, male, less education & income, rural residence Conservation – older, more education & income, urban residence Who hates cormorants? 1/3 negative, 1/4 positive, the rest are ambivalent User groups Anglers and lakeshore homeowners most likely to dislike cormorants Conservation members least troubled by cormorants Educating the Public More knowledge = more positive attitudes/less support for control Not to pick on anglers, but… Scored highest on self-rated wildlife knowledge scale Scored lowest on cormorant knowledge scale Fitting beliefs to attitudes? Native/Newcomer? Anglers – younger, male, less education & income, rural residence Conservation – older, more education & income, urban residence

22 Questions or Comments?


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