Step 1. Goal Setting
In a stakeholder driven process – outlining the goals of the fishery and community will inform the entire assessment, design and management priorities; and therefore process. For example, a community whose goals are primarily to maximize fisheries harvest every year will set very different pathway to fishery reform than a community interested in generating fishery yields while also increasing fish biomass in the water to support tourism. Fishery goals may be biological, economic, social or a combination of these categories.
The case study nation’s fishery managers and stakeholders have decided that their goals are to produce good (but not necessarily maximum) yields from the main target fisheries, provide good dive tourism and recreational fishing experiences, and maintain the coral reef ecosystem that supports fishing and tourism by rebuilding depleted stocks and maintaining total fish biomass at appropriate levels. These immediate goals inform their larger goals for the fishery as a whole – that it can continue to support livelihoods, promotes job security, and contribute significantly to the economy. In order to continue to generate these benefits and increase them over time, it will be necessary to limit access to the fishery and control harvest based on scientific surveys and analysis. Neither of these approaches can function well on its own: limiting access without controlling harvest often results in fishermen who try to maximize catch, resulting in overfishing, and limiting harvest without limiting access often results in overfishing as more and more fishers enter the fishery.