Project number: 2012-301
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $195,500.00
Principal Investigator: Allan Curtis
Organisation: Charles Sturt University (CSU) Bathurst
Project start/end date: 31 May 2012 - 28 Feb 2014


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.


1. Obtain comprehensive and reliable knowledge about the basis for people’s (decision-makers, interest groups, general public) attitudes and behaviours towards the sustainability of wild catch fishing (and other primary) industries and the extent to which social acceptability influences resource access decisions
2. Use interactive processes to share that information with the project’s primary audience (government decision makers (fisheries managers), fishing industry leaders, and the fisheries research/extension community) and help build industry capacity to: identify and understand the values, beliefs, attitudes and actions of the general public and other stakeholders
and select topics and identify strategies that will enable more effective engagement with those audiences.
3. Review current benchmarks of the social acceptance of wild-catch commercial fishing with a view to revising existing and/or identifying new indicators for widespread use in future time series comparisons.

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-86-467254-1
Authors: Professor Allan Curtis Dr Nicki Mazur Mr Andy Bodsworth

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