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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving with Manta Rays on the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi: Perceived Crowding and Support for Management Action

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Item Summary

Title: Snorkeling and Scuba Diving with Manta Rays on the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi: Perceived Crowding and Support for Management Action
Authors: Knecht, Daniel P.
Advisor: Szuster, Brian
Keywords: snorkeling
scuba diving
crowding
norm congruence
marine park management
Issue Date: May 2015
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Abstract: Over the past several decades, recreation and tourism in marine environments have increased worldwide, causing concerns about the impacts of increasing use levels on user experiences (e.g., crowding). This thesis uses data collected from Garden Eel Cove, a manta ray snorkel and dive site on the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi, to examine: (a) reported encounters, norms, crowding, and support for management among snorkelers and scuba divers, and (b) whether snorkelers and scuba divers who encounter more snorkelers, scuba divers, videographers, and boats than their norms feel more crowded and are more supportive of management designed to educate users and restrict use levels than those who encounter fewer than their norm. Data were collected at Honokohau Marina from snorkel and dive participants over eight consecutive nights during the last week of March 2012. In total, 444 questionnaires were collected with a response rate of 89%. Encounter norms were measured by asking respondents the maximum numbers of other users they would tolerate seeing during their trip to snorkel or dive with manta rays. On average, users would accept seeing no more than approximately 52 snorkelers, 33 scuba divers, four videographers, and 11 boats; and the majority of users encountered more snorkelers, scuba divers, and boats than their norm. A large majority of both snorkelers (96%) and scuba divers (82%) felt crowded by other in-group users. Out-group encounters with boats also caused a majority of both snorkelers (78%) and scuba divers (79%) to feel crowded. Out-group encounters caused 60% percent of snorkelers to feel crowded by divers and 58% of divers to feel crowded by snorkelers. Crowding caused by videographers was relatively low among both snorkelers (10%) and scuba divers (26%). Approximately 84% of all users supported indirect management strategies aimed at educating visitors, while 78% supported indirect management strategies directed at how to behave with other visitors. Direct management actions aimed at limiting the numbers of snorkelers, scuba divers, videographers, and boats allowed at the site at any one time were supported by 62%, 55%, 38%, and 59% of users, respectively. Users who encountered more snorkelers, scuba divers, videographers, and boats than their norms felt more crowded and were also more supportive of implementing the proposed management strategies than those who encountered fewer than their norm. However, even those users who encountered fewer than their norm reported feeling crowded and supported management actions. These findings suggest that social use issues exist at this site and management may be necessary to protect user experiences.
Description: MA University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 78–84).
Pages/Duration: xi, 84 leaves
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/50898
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:M.A. - Geography


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