The usefulness of the analytic hierarchy process for understanding reef diving choices: a case study
The Algarve region of Portugal offers a number of different divable sites at natural reefs (NRs) and artificial reefs; the former are composed of rocky intrusions, and the latter by sunken or derelict structures and by the recently deployed purpose-built concrete modules. Divers are thus constrained to choose their preferred site from these available options and when making this choice attribute a comparative value to reef resources. Reef diving choices and preferences can be calculated through the use of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). In the AHP, each reef alternative is calculated in terms of a set of decision criteria, as well as the relative importance of each criterion. Decision makers need to know what role artificial reef modules play within the diving choice spectrum in order to decide their potential management interests, and AHP results can be used in that decision. In the present pilot case study, the AHP results show that two sub-criteria —the hope of seeing unusual aquatic organisms, and the benefits of updating diving skills— are the most relevant criteria for the diving decision process. Amongst the diving alternatives, natural reefs play the major role and artificial reef modules are the least important choice.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2006
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