As already noted (see Background), substantive social research and industry and natural resource management experience has shown that public and stakeholder acceptance is very important for the success of primary industries like the wild-catch sector of the commercial fishing industry. Unproductive debates about sustainable development and ecosystem protection have increased, and projects, programs, or policies lacking greater social acceptability are unlikely to be implemented (Shindler et al 2004). Strong future economic, environmental and social performance of wild catch fisheries depends on productive three-way communications between the fishing industry, their stakeholders, and the wider public (see Figure 2). In order to achieve those conversations, however, we need greater understanding of what drives social acceptability and how it influences decision-making.
This project was developed with reference to the research themes and priorities identified by the:
• National Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy 2010 (pp 28-30)
• FRDC RD&E Plan 2012-15 (pp 27, 28, 30; 32-33; 34-35; 37-38)
• Social Sciences Research Coordination Program Plan 2009-2012 (p.5)
The Strategy and Plans consistently identify the need for research that helps build mutual benefits and support between the fishing industry and its (national, regional, stakeholder) communities and that has explicit strategies for facilitating the adoption of research findings, thereby building industry capacity in the process.
Our research will meet that need by:
• Generating knowledge about the drivers of the wild-catch sector’s social acceptability and to what extent and how social acceptability influences resource access decision making processes;
• Enhancing value of current and future communications approaches through provision of key messages and approaches that extend one-way provision of information to ways to build public trust; and
• Possibly improving existing social acceptability benchmarks for the wild-catch sector.