Perception of citizens regarding marine litter impacts: Collaborative methodologies in island fishing communities of cape verde

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Marine litter has been considered one of the most serious global challenges, requiring urgent action by governmental bodies, especially in African Small Island Developing States (SIDS), where resources and research are limited. In addition to this, waste management and environmental education and ocean literacy programs in schools are scarce, with islands suffering more seriously from these problems. Despite the amount of literature regarding causes and impacts of marine litter, there is still not enough research conducted concerning the public perceptions on both the problem and the potential solutions. This is even more noticeable in African developing countries, where resources and research are scarce. Perception plays a key role for ecosystem management and conservation policies. This study intends to explore the perceptions of local island fishing communities in Cape Verde regarding marine litter, in order to contribute for an improvement of marine ecosystem management and development of conservation policies. To achieve that, two participatory sessions were conducted in two communities in the island of Santiago—Porto Mosquito and Porto Gouveia—where brainstorming and active listening were used to create shared and authentic spaces for dialogue between the members of the community. Results show that the population of both communities were very aware of the marine litter problem. They were able to identify the lack of a proper waste management system in the island and the inappropriate behaviours of the population as the main causes of this problem. Equipment damages and the presence of plastic inside the fish were the most relevant impacts identified by the participants. These findings reinforce previous research on the importance of public engagement and environmental education to contribute to the conservation of marine ecosystems and to build a strong collaborative ocean governance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number306
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Africa
  • Cape Verde
  • Island communities
  • Marine litter
  • Ocean literacy
  • Public engagement
  • Small islands


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