MarineMap and Collaborative Decision Making: Stakeholder perceptions of MarineMap Decision Support Tool (DST) to reduce conflict and strengthen relationships
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The implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) as part of a shift to ecosystem based management within our marine waters is gaining widespread acceptance by scientific and conservation communities. However fisherman and often the communities from which they come have expressed reservations about the implementation of MPAs for various reasons. Despite this, past work has shown that the participation and contributions of these groups are needed for effective implementation and future success of MPAs. This suggests a collaborative model be used when proposing MPAs that underscores the need for these historically conflicting stakeholder groups to work together. This paper is an analysis of stakeholder perceptions of the MarineMap Decision Support Tool (DST) in regard to its role in reducing conflict and strengthening relationships within the South Coast Regional Stakeholder Group (SCRSG) in their efforts to draft proposals for MPAs in accordance to the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative of California. Three fundamental questions are at the heart of the analysis: Does stakeholder use of MarineMap 1) increase one’s understanding of the interests of others in the group, 2) shape the views of stakeholders regarding the MPA proposal process, and 3) strengthen the working relationship between those within the group. The findings reveal that MarineMap helped shape the views of individuals within the SCRSG and in the process helped stakeholders better understand the interests of others. Because of this it is expected that the use of MarineMap in the decision making process surrounding the planning and implementation of MPAs will reduce associated conflict between the various stakeholder groups.