Project number: 2003-056
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $132,264.00
Principal Investigator: Jacki Schirmer
Organisation: Department of Agriculture; Water and the Environment (ABARES)
Project start/end date: 30 Aug 2003 - 4 Aug 2005


Social assessment is an area of fisheries management that has received little attention and has been identified as a priority by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (SCFA). Assessing social impacts can inform the choice between management options that have similar resource and economic outcomes, but which may have significantly different social impacts. Additionally, understanding the social implications of fisheries management decisions or policy approaches may enable co-ordinated government approaches that eases transitions associated with any structural adjustment processes in the industry.

The project will produce a Handbook that will enable all Australian fisheries to finalise their SCFA assessment process using an approach to social assessment that is consistent with the issues and values articulated in Section 6 “Impacts of the Fishery on Community Wellbeing” and Section 7 “Impacts of the Fishery on National socio-economic benefits”. The Handbook will provide a social assessment framework and guidance on methods/approaches for each stage of a social assessment that will assist practitioners to develop skills and confidence to undertake or commission assessments. Use of the Handbook will also facilitate increased awareness of potential social impacts and improve the planning and management of social impacts, amongst fisheries managers. This project includes a case study to trial the Handbook and will provide an illustration of the application of social assessment principles and practices.

The Handbook will be useful to both fisheries managers, to facilitate resource use decisions, and to the industry through providing a further basis for discussion and negotiation around resource use and access.


1. Provide a user friendly “how to” Handbook for practitioners that will include:1) A framework outlining the scope and content of social assessments for fisheries management
2) Describe the range of methods or approaches that can be employed at different stages of a social assessment
3) Provide an assessment of the relative strengths and limitations of different methods and approaches
2. Undertake a case study to1) Refine and trial the social assessment principles and approaches contained in the Handbook
2) Modify the Handbook where necessary for final publication, to ensure ease of use by both fisheries managers and industry.

Final report

ISBN: 0-642-47-594-6
Author: Jacki Schirmer
Final Report • 2005-06-30 • 476.53 KB


In recent years, understanding the social side of fisheries and fishing industries has become increasingly important, particularly as part of processes reporting on ecologically sustainable development. This project was developed to provide a more structured approach to the way social assessments are planned and undertaken.

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