Applying marketing to conservation: A case study on encouraging boater reporting of watercraft collisions with Florida manatees.
We illustrate how the application of a traditional marketing approach can be used to address conservation problems. The conservation challenge at hand relates to the low number of reported boat strikes of the Florida manatee (Trichechus latirostris), an endangered marine mammal that inhabits coastal Florida. Our objective was to assess why boaters do or do not call the authorities after their boat strikes a manatee and what can be done to increase the rate of reporting. Results of our online survey indicated that over 90% of subjects expressed a willingness to call the authorities if they strike a manatee with their boat. However, this self-reported sentiment has not resulted in frequent calls to the authorities by boaters involved in a collision with a manatee since records have been kept. The outcome of subsequent personal in-depth interviews suggested that most boaters do not know who to call or do not have the proper contact number. Based on our findings, we suggest the implementation of a decal to be positioned in a vessel’s cockpit displaying the proper number to call to report a manatee incident. We also recommend including numbers for other marine emergencies on the decal. We discuss barriers to success that need to be considered and caution as to potential market failures.
Flamm, R.O. & Braunsberger, K. (2014). Applying marketing to conservation: A case study on encouraging boater reporting of watercraft collisions with Florida manatees. Ocean & Coastal Management, 96, 20-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.04.026
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