Study

How effective are posted signs to regulate tourism? An example with New Zealand fur seals

  • Published source details Acevedo-Gutierrez A., Acevedo L., Belonovich O. & Boren L. (2011) How effective are posted signs to regulate tourism? An example with New Zealand fur seals. Tourism in Marine Environments, 7, 39-41.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Inform the public of ways to reduce disturbance to marine and freshwater mammals (e.g. use educational signs)

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Inform the public of ways to reduce disturbance to marine and freshwater mammals (e.g. use educational signs)

    A controlled study in 2009 at a peninsula in the South Pacific Ocean, New Zealand (Acevedo-Gutierrez et al. 2011) found that tourist groups that observed information signs approached and disturbed New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus forsteri in similar numbers to those that did not observe signs. The percentage of tourist groups that remained >5 m from seals was similar whether they had observed signs (61%) or not (66%). The percentage of groups in which at least one person attempted to touch seals also did not differ significantly (observed signs: 1.4%; did not observe signs: 2.4%). The same was true for the percentage of groups that caused seals to move away (observed signs: 12%; did not observe signs: 9%). In summer 2009, a total of 362 tourist groups (each with an average of three people) visited a seal colony over 20 days. Each visit lasted an average of 25–26 minutes. Several signs posted around the site stated that visitors must remain >10 m from seals on land. A total of 236 groups observed signs, 126 groups did not. Trained observers on a cliff top recorded whether each of the 362 tourist groups observed signs (walked up to them) and how they interacted with the seals.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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