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Preference elicitation of fisheries management objectives

The overall aim of the study was to develop and analyse the actual objective structure present within EU fisheries management from the perspectives of the different interest groups, including associated priorities perceived.

This result describes the development of interest group preferences towards the importance of fisheries management objectives for the case studies selected. This was the first known study where such a survey to explicitly elicit group preferences on the multiple objectives of management has been undertaken for European sea fisheries. The surveys designed for each case used the output from the previous objective development result of the project and targeted the whole population for response rather than a sample. This was for the most part achieved as planned.

Furthermore, the surveys were conducted face-to-face, allowing significant time to be given to discussion of the aims of the project and of the survey to ensure the quality of results obtained. In addition, most case studies included social questions to further qualify responses for future validation and analysis. The main part of the survey comprised a pair wise comparison of the importance of objectives using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). This was consistent over all case studies and for several objectives and allowed direct comparison. In addition to this, importance of the interest groups themselves in the management process was also considered by most case studies.

As well as the AHP, conjoint analysis (both choice experiments and ranking-based conjoint) were investigated by different studies for comparison to the AHP and to add more information into the preference validation and analysis procedure. In relation to the numbers of responses required to represent the whole populations’ preferences in each case, the AHP proved highly effective. In fact, respondents generally responded positively to the survey completed. After analysis of responses, results of each case study were presented to respondents for comment and validation by both standard dissemination and workshops.

Through much discussion by the project team within the group and with others, the workshops were designed to present the results in order to disseminate and validate. In all cases where they were held, they invoked interested discussion, not only in response to the results explicitly showing differences and equivalencies in preferences achieved over groups, but also from the simple point that they had been asked what direction management should proceed in respect to the objectives. Obvious overlaps existed in the preferences elicited between groups and were particularly interesting. The preference elicitation report is the main deliverable from this result.

Several papers from this result have also been developed by the project team for the dissemination of results at conference and elsewhere. Further, a joint project team paper comparing the results achieved over the case studies by partners has been presented at conference and is in preparation for submission to an academic journal. The majority of the papers presented at conference, although some overlap exists, are being developed for submission to international journals for publication. In addition, two papers emanating from this result are to be presented at conference in 2003 (European Association of Fisheries Economists and Rights and Duties in the Coastal Zone).

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University of Portsmouth
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