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Exploring Participants' Views of Participatory Coastal and Marine Resource Management Processes

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It is generally accepted that stakeholders, including resource users, scientists, conservationists, government and nongovernment organizations, and the general public, can contribute positively to management processes and may even benefit from such processes. However, we continue to struggle with how to design processes that effectively involve these stakeholders. To illuminate potential improvements to traditional processes, this study examines participants' perceptions of coastal and marine resource management processes. Through semi-structured interviews, respondents describe how they feel about various elements of participatory processes. Responses offer insight into the multiple dimensions of participatory process elements described in the literature, such as influence on decisions, exchange of information, access to the process, transparent decision making, and others. Responses also identify additional elements that have received limited attention in the public-participation literature: hosting meetings at various scales, recognizing differences within interest groups, and considering the context of a process. Results from this study will help to inform the design of participatory coastal and marine resource management processes.
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Keywords: process; public participation; stakeholder involvement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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