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Aug 16, 2013

Sustainable Fishing

Bristol Zoo respects sustainable fishing and marine conservation

Complete and utter message consistency - an integrated approach to visitor interpretation and zoo practice, with respect to sustainable fishing and marine conservation. 

From 2008 to 2010 Bristol Zoo Gardens worked with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) on a visitor awareness project about sustainable fishing and marine conservation. Funded by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Project AWAREM, the interpretation in the Zoo’s Aquarium was completely renewed incorporating MSC and sustainable fishing messages and a display of available consumer products.

The Zoo’s on-site visitor catering (through Milburn’s) was MSC certified. The posters and colouring sheet tray liners were also displayed and handed out. The Zoo was certified to feed MSC-certified fish to our animals - including seals - which is now mentioned in the talks. Thus, wherever visitors encounter fish during their visit, the same message is reinforced. The whole project was evaluated before, during and after for visitors recognition of the MSC logo, understanding of what the logo means and broader understanding of sustainable fishing and marine conservation.

The latest period of data collection has only happened recently. However, preliminary results suggest that the combination of ‘experiences’ where the message is put across is proving very powerful, with attendance at the Zoo’s restaurant having the greatest impact on MSC logo recognition. It also appears that understanding of the logo meaning and associated marine conservation issues has also been enhanced. In addition, we also know that this project has prompted others to have their visitor catering and animal feed certified, and Milburn’s to consider certifying other sites where they provide visitor catering.

This project has thus achieved interpretation and very practical advances in many directions, and is utterly replicable to enhance a popular attraction (the Aquarium) in the Zoo in line with defined overall Bristol Zoo messages:  I’ve had fun, I’ve learned something new, I can make a positive difference, to increase awareness of the MSC logo to encourage positive action in our visitors, to encourage an intellectual link between sustainable fishing and marine conservation and finally to develop our working relationship with partners: MSC and Milburn’s.

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