Protecting the public from hazardous jellyfish: a wicked problem for regulators and operators?

Edited book (chapter)


Crowley-Cyr, Lynda and Gershwin, Lisa-ann. 2021. "Protecting the public from hazardous jellyfish: a wicked problem for regulators and operators?" Mariottini, Gian Luigi, Killi, Nurcin and Xiao, Liang (ed.) The cnidaria: only a problem or also a resource?. Hauppauge, NY, USA. Nova Science Publishers. pp. 99-122
Chapter Title

Protecting the public from hazardous jellyfish: a wicked problem for regulators and operators?

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID2797
Book TitleThe cnidaria: only a problem or also a resource?
AuthorsCrowley-Cyr, Lynda (Author) and Gershwin, Lisa-ann (Author)
EditorsMariottini, Gian Luigi, Killi, Nurcin and Xiao, Liang
Page Range99-122
SeriesMarine and Freshwater Biology
Chapter Number4
Number of Pages24
Year2021
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Place of PublicationHauppauge, NY, USA
ISBN9781536197945
Web Address (URL)https://novapublishers.com/shop/the-cnidaria-only-a-problem-or-also-a-resource/
Abstract

In many coastal tourism regions of the world, harmful jellyfish present a health and safety hazard to beachgoers, divers, fishermen, and indeed anyone who enters the water. In tropical Australia, for example, jellyfish present a persistent, if not escalating, life-threatening risk at beaches as well as off-shore diving and snorkelling sites. Tension exists between the need for safer practices and the risk of deterring business. The enigmatic character of jellyfish and the stinging hazard they create makes them a challenge for public officials to manage, and may in this sense be perceived as a ‘wicked’ problem. Wicked problems are typically understood as being complex, stubborn, difficult to predict and solve, and concern multiple stakeholders with conflicting interests, values and perspectives. Conceptualising jellyfish as a wicked problem enables us to begin ‘grasping the big picture’. Part of the big picture is being able to predict when and where harmful jellyfish will be present. Most current risk management strategies assume jellyfish are unpredictable. As outlined in another chapter in this book, a jellyfish risk prediction system can shift the paradigm to one of manageability. This chapter considers key government jellyfish risk management strategies that could arguably be more effective in reducing sting incidents if a reliable prediction system existed and clear disclosure of jellyfish risks and preventions were required by recreational tourism operators and beach authorities. The first critically analysed strategy is the use of purpose-built jellyfish-resistant swimming enclosures and warning signs at high risk, high use beaches. The second strategy is the implementation of a regime of Workplace Health and Safety regulation compelling recreational diving and snorkelling providers to protect their customers from jellyfish hazards. The underlying theme of the critiques is that reliable sting protective swimwear exists but is not consistently worn or widely and adequately promoted. Developing effective ways to tackle jellyfish problems is an evolving process. This entails informed innovative approaches by governments and greater collaboration by all stakeholders including tourism industry representatives, researchers, and the public. Arguably, the development of an effective jellyfish forecasting system may well be the missing link to addressing this problem.

Keywordsmarine stinger management, tourism operator liability, diving and snorkelling, beach safety, jellyfish warning signs, stinger suits, early warning forecasting, workplace health and safety
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480499. Law in context not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Law and Justice
University of Tasmania
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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