, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 393-398

Application of the randomized response technique to marine park management: an assessment of permit compliance

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Abstract

Marine product collecting permits are useful management tools for providing information on usage patterns. Unfortunately, usage parameters based on permit issuance are invariably inaccurate because of permit noncompliance. Since noncompliance is a prosecutable offense, any attempt to estimate the rate of noncompliance by direct survey techniques is met with misleading and evasive responses. It has been shown elsewhere that randomized response designs reduce survey response bias to incriminating questions by ensuring respondent anonymity. With the use of the randomized response survey technique, estimates of permit noncompliance were determined for the Capricornia Section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Noncompliance with the requirement to obtain the prescribed permit was found to be low whereas, once a permit was obtained, noncompliance with specific permit conditions was considered high. Reasons for the high rate of noncompliance with specific conditions are presented, and it is recommended that marine park managers should not unreservedly base management decisions on usage data derived simply from permit issuance.