What is it about?
Australia’s wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture are increasingly attentive to the importance of having support from communities and stakeholders to ensure their future sustainability and prosperity. This project aimed to identify the determinants of socially-supported wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture in Australia.
This project was developed collaboratively with the Human Dimensions Research Subprogram and relevant industry stakeholders and extends previous FRDC projects by examining differential definitions and assessments of societal support. It investigated determining factors beyond individual values and perceptions associated with ‘sustainability’ and seafood production practices, to factors and processes such as those associated with culture, relationships, participation, and trust, and whether/how these determinants contribute to societal support.
Why is it important?
To secure the future of the Australian wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture industry, it is increasingly clear that, alongside effective and responsible management and production, building and maintaining societal support is vital. However, there is uncertainty around what is meant by societal support and what it looks like, how to address poor societal support at its root, who needs to be involved to address the problem and effective pathways to improving societal support.
There are gaps in knowledge in terms of 1) identifying the determinants of poor/high societal support; 2) identifying stakeholder groups to target who influence societal support and outcomes for wild-catch and aquaculture fisheries; and 3) appropriate, effective and innovative pathways to improve societal support through engagement strategies and other interventions.
There is a wealth of information about societal support and it is referred to using a variety of terms including the social license to operate, community support, social acceptance. There is also research on the conditions required to achieve societal support. However, currently, this information is not directly or easily transferable to the seafood industry. This project drew together this knowledge from existing literature and documentation and used a survey and key informant interviews to address the gaps in knowledge.