The principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management require that fisheries be managed for social as well as environmental and economic objectives. Comprehensive assessments of the success of fisheries in achieving all three objectives are, however, rare. There are three main barriers to achieving integrated assessments of fisheries. Firstly, disciplinary divides can be considered "too hard" to bridge with inherent conflicts between the predominately empirical and deductive traditions of economics and biophysical sciences and the inductive and interpretative approach of much of the social sciences. Secondly, understanding of the social pillar of sustainability is less well developed. And finally, in-depth analysis of the social aspects of sustainability often involves qualitative analysis and there are practical difficulties in integrating this with largely quantitative economic and ecological assessments. This article explores the social well-being approach as a framework for an integrated evaluation of the social and economic benefits that communities in New South Wales, Australia, receive from professional fish harvesting. Using a review of existing literature and qualitative interviews with more than 160 people associated with the fishing industry the project was able to identify seven key domains of community well-being to which the industry contributes. Identification of these domains provided a framework through which industry contributions could be further explored, through quantitative surveys and economic analysis. This framework enabled successful integration of social and economic, and both qualitative and quantitative information in a manner that enabled a comprehensive assessment of the value of the fishery.
Available for download on Friday, June 01, 2018