The right conversations - Identifying optimal stakeholder engagement and evaluation practices for fisheries

Project Number:



ENVision Environmental Consulting

Principal Investigator:

Nicki Mazur

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





Improved seafood industry engagement with its stakeholders/communities remains a high priority for the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) to address low rates of societal acceptance and/or support. The FRDC recognises that social support for the seafood industry relies heavily on members’ improving their understanding of people’s views about the industry, and on building more trusting relationships with those people - especially those with direct influence on resource access decisions. In addition to being more effective ‘engagers’, the industry also needs to be able to evaluate how effective their engagement activities are and how they can continually build community trust. Towards that end, the FRDC commissioned a range of projects focusing on building the seafood industry’s capacity for effective stakeholder/community engagement (e.g. Ogier & Brooks 2016, FRDC 2014/301, 2011/525; Ham 2010, 2001/310), long term industry leadership (e.g. FRDC 2011/410), and adaptation and well-being (e.g. 2012/402) - all of which are necessary for the industry to build social support. However, it remains unclear how and to what extent industry members are using these and other resources to help them ‘engage’ with their stakeholders/communities. It is believed that there are obstacles that can limit industry members’ use of these resources and their general engagement practices, including: 1. Industry members not seeing the full relevance or need for engagement; 2. Industry members perceiving ‘engagement’ as marketing and/or product promotion; 3. Industry members lacking the necessary expertise, capability and capacity in engagement; 4. Lack of knowledge and information about the comparative effectiveness of various engagement activities and strategies, particularly in a fisheries context; and 5. Ineffective extension of existing information (e.g. unsuitable formats). This Project is designed to explore how and to what extent these and other barriers keep the seafood industry from making substantive progress towards building greater stakeholder and community trust.


1. Conduct desktop research to ascertain the range of factors influencing (primary) industry’s use of available and best practice engagement strategies, tools and practices.

2. Identify examples of effective and accessible processes for designing and evaluating targeted engagement strategies (for primary industries, including fisheries).

3. Identify means for industry to assess the effectiveness of engagement activities (evaluation) to give confidence in their investments

4. Share project findings with the primary audience (the Human Dimensions Program and seafood industry leaders).

5. Improve understanding of key barriers to the seafood industry’s adoption of existing best practice models and methods of engagement.

6. Improve applicability of existing engagement resources for seafood industry to increase their capacity to effectively engage with its stakeholders and communities.

The Right Conversations: Building industry engagement capacity for socially-supported fisheries and aquaculture

Final Report
Author(s):Nicole Mazur and Kate Brooks
Date Published:October 2018
This Project aimed to improve understanding of how and to what extent certain barriers keep the seafood industry from making substantive progress towards building greater stakeholder and community trust.  The Project was designed to meet this aim by researching obstacles to, and enablers of, practice change; examples of good engagement; and evaluation practices in fisheries settings, and collate that information into a cogent report and end user frameworks, that will be both useful in guiding the FRDC HDR in future investments and for dissemination by the FRDC HDR as appropriate for the benefit of the industry. Key words: Seafood industry, engagement, consultation, communication, evaluation, social license to operate, social acceptability, trust, motivation, adoption of innovation