Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Washington
  • Patrick Christie
  • (206) 685-6661
  • Lekelia D Jenkins
Award Date:01/19/2010
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 345,794
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 345,794
  • FY 2012=$8,443
  • FY 2010=$121,388
  • FY 2011=$215,963
Start Date:02/01/2010
End Date:01/31/2014
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Standard Research Grant - International Adoption of Conservation Technologies (IntACT): Towards a New Theory of Transferring Technology in the Face of Conservation Crisis
Federal Award ID Number:0957262
DUNS ID:605799469
Parent DUNS ID:042803536
Program:STS-Sci, Tech & Society

Awardee Location

Street:4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Awardee Cong. District:07

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Washington
Street:4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Cong. District:07

Abstract at Time of Award

Fishery managers around the world use marine conservation technology (i.e. a device that protects organisms and/or habitat) to address high levels of bycatch (i.e. non-target species caught or harmed in the course of fishing). Recent U.S. legislation requires that countries with bycatch of certain protected species adopt conservation technology or else risk embargos. The United States is a leader in the development of conservation technologies and is currently exporting them to other countries and contexts. The results, however, have been mixed. This study will explore the key factors related to successful cross-cultural promotion of marine conservation technologies by investigating two technologies: turtle excluder devices (TEDs) and circle hooks. Both techniques are used to reduce bycatch of sea turtles. The research will pursue the following research objectives: (1) Describe the types of technology promotion programs used by U.S. agencies and organizations to encourage the adoption of TEDs and circle hooks by fishers outside the U.S. and by fishers of distinct cultural communities within the U.S.; (2) Determine which aspects of these promotional transfer efforts helped or hindered the promotion and adoption processes, especially in regards to differences in language, culture, or levels of country development.; (3) Describe and codify specific methods used by individuals acclaimed for their abilities to successfully promote adoption of conservation technologies cross-culturally. To meet these objectives, the project uses a multi-method approach that includes participant observation, in-depth interviews, surveys, document analysis, and imitation games. Research findings will be used to create a best practices framework and to make policy recommendations for the transfer of marine conservation technologies to other countries and contexts. This study will yield insights into the applicability of the theories of technology transfer, diffusion of innovations, cross-cultural communication, and interactional expertise to marine conservation technology as well as develop a theory specific for the international use of conservation technologies. Such a theory will provide a deeper understanding of technology transfer in cross-national situations, for example, the exportation and use of alternative fuels and energy efficient technologies to address climate change.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.


            In has been 40 years since the last large-scale assessment of international transfer of marine technology (mostly exploitative technologies) by the United States. Section 609 of the Endangered Species Act of 1989 and Section 403 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 2007 require the international use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) and circle hooks, respectively, by foreign fishers who want to export fish to the United States under certain conditions. Clearly, the focus of international transfer of marine technology has shifted from exploitative to conservation technologies, but is the technology transfer model the United States uses effective and appropriate now? In the past few years, the U.S. government has embargoed shrimp imports from some countries, because their shrimp fishers have not met the U.S. standard for use of TEDs.  Despite two decades of TED workshops and other extension activities by the United States abroad, rumors abound of poor or improper TED use by foreign fishing fleets. In contrast, the U.S. government has repeatedly certified the shrimp fisheries in other Latin American countries, including Ecuador, which has made significant efforts to adopt both technologies, allowing their continued export of shrimp to the United States. In addition, international organizations like the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and NGOs like WWF have partnered with the U.S.  government and organizations in other nations to promote the use of circle hooks in longline fisheries throughout Latin America. This program's sustained effort, especially in Ecuador, has made progress, in spite of significant impediments to adoption (e.g. circle hook availability, cost, etc.)  

            In our study we sought to understand why the United States' promotion efforts yielded better acceptance of TEDs and circle hooks in some countries than in others by conducting case studies in Ecuador and Costa Rica. We applied qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a triangulated approach. First, we conducted semi-structured in-person interviews with key informants from the United States, Costa Rica, and Ecuador selected with purposive and snowball sampling and analyzed the transcriptions with a grounded theory approach using computer assisted qualitative data analysis software. Second, we conducted a formal survey of fishers and analyzed the results with multivariate statistics.  Third, we observed fishing practices and TED and circle hook availability in the field. We interpreted these results within the context of theories on technology transfer and diffusion of innovations. Our preliminary findings suggest that programs burdened with many restrictions such as  the U.S. promotion program for TEDs  can yield a standard program with little flexibility to accommodate cultural and other differences in nations. However, partnerships with other organizations that do not have such restrictions, such as in the circle hook program, allows supplemental initiatives  that can be tailored for the specific needs of each country's fisheries. A balance between accountability to rules generated by external governing bodies and freedom to create context-appropriate rules appears to result in more rapid technology innovations. In all cases, incentives are needed, and it is important to identify the most effective ones.

            This research has benefited society in several ways. In 2013 under Section 403 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the United States identified Mexico for bycatch of the North Pacific loggerhead turtle. This was the first time a nation has been identified for bycatch u...

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.