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Ocean sustainability for all requires deeper behavioural research

Behavioural science can enhance ocean sustainability by providing insights into illegal fishing. Current enforcement criminalizes small-scale fishers and fails to address root causes, letting large-scale illegal fishing off the hook. Efforts to address illegal fishing would benefit from more holistic behavioural research.

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Fig. 1: Major drivers of illegal fishing, potential policy responses and ways to support small-scale fishers.


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We thank Oceana for the financial support which made this work possible. The authors gratefully acknowledge that they live and work on the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories.

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Correspondence to Dyhia Belhabib.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Human Behaviour thanks Brock Bergseth, Jessica Ford and Mary Mackay for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Belhabib, D., Le Billon, P. & Bennett, N.J. Ocean sustainability for all requires deeper behavioural research. Nat Hum Behav 6, 6–8 (2022).

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