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         330             A.H. Himes / Ocean & Coastal Management 50 (2007) 329–351
         moving forward with a meaningful discussion over the future management of MPAs and
         how they can be more successful, it is essential that communities and managing authorities
         agree on common aspirations and expectations. Many studies have shown that stakeholder
         input is critical in increasing stakeholder buy-in to the management process, developing
         the goals and objectives of an MPA, identifying appropriate management effectiveness
         indicators by which to measure MPA effectiveness, and ultimately critical to successful
         management [5–7]. As a result, researchers have been developing new methods to uncover
         stakeholders’ opinions of past, present, and future management strategies, the results of
         which can be used to improve MPA management overall and increase support by local
         stakeholders [8–10].
           In recent years, many methods have been developed to get at the heart of this, including
         the IUCN’s ‘‘How is Your MPA doing?’’ Workbook [5], the United Nations Foundation’s
         ‘‘World Heritage Management Effectiveness Workbook’’ [11], the IUCN Eastern African
         Regional Programme’s Workbook for the Western Indian Ocean [12], and the World
         Bank’s Score Card to assess progress in achieving goals for MPAs [13]. These methods all
         argue that the inclusion of information on the human context of the MPA is essential for
         assessing sources of stress to the local marine ecosystem, developing effective conservation
         strategies, measuring threat abatement, increasing stakeholder buy-in, and increasing
         stakeholder compliance.
           The purpose of this paper is to delve into how the definition of ‘success’ in individual
         MPAs can be crafted from the compilation of differing stakeholder viewpoints. The
         concept of ‘success’ is inherently a social construct; different people, depending on their
         background and stakeholder affiliations, will construct its definition differently [6,14].By
         analyzing the opinions of stakeholders in MPA evaluation, a much more appropriate
         definition of ‘success’ in MPAs can be constructed from the reality of individual
         communities and MPAs [2,15–18]. The purpose of using such an approach is an attempt to
         involve stakeholders at all levels of analysis of MPA performance, to identify and combine
         social, economic, and ecological contextual factors and criteria for use in management
         evaluation, and ultimately provide for better fundamental management of the MPA [19].
           The present research aimed at using both qualitative and quantitative data to analyze
         the overall socio-economic impact of a Mediterranean MPA on local stakeholders and
         subsequent stakeholder preferences for performance indicators in achieving a successful
         protected area. It was understood that perceptions form an important component of
         completely understanding the interfaces between biophysical reality, management, and the
         perceived purpose and role of conservation. However, although many authors note the
         relevance of the issue of considering local perceptions in social research [20–22], few
         explore their specific content, how they are socially constructed, and how they influence
         behavior [23].
           MPAs typically affect heterogeneous communities that include many stakeholders with
         diverse and sometimes conflicting perspectives and outlooks on the marine environment. It
         is therefore fundamental to successful conservation that these diverse perceptions are
         explored and considered. Yet, the perceptions and attitudes of the various stakeholders
         concerned with the marine environment can significantly affect the outcomes and therefore
         the overall performance of an MPA. The outcome of the decision-making process, and
         therefore success or failure in reaching management objectives, can be affected
         considerably by the reaction of those affected by an MPA to the regulations and the
         level of participation in management that they are allowed.
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