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                          A.H. Himes / Ocean & Coastal Management 50 (2007) 329–351  331
            Social research on protected areas has generally focused on visitors to these areas
          [24,25]. Research into local perceptions and values of marine conservation and manage-
          ment of MPAs has been limited, especially in the Mediterranean basin. To date, ‘‘studies
          on the knowledge, aptitude, and perceptions of local people are very limited’’ [24]. Focused
          research is needed on the local stakeholders who have a direct impact on the achievement
          management objectives and are directly influenced by management decisions. To
          accomplish this, an attempt is made here to uncover the similarities and differences in
          how stakeholder groups construct the definition of ‘success,’ through the analysis of
          stakeholder identified local resources and threats, performance indicators, and necessary
          management interventions in a case study of the Egadi Islands Marine Reserve (EIMR) in
          northwestern Sicily, Italy.
            Extended time was spent by the author in situ with the community and stakeholders
          associated with the EIMR. The community in this study encompasses those stakeholders
          that live in or around the geographical area of the EIMR and those that manage (e.g., local
          government) or occasionally use the resources within the area (e.g., researchers). The
          community is considered to be a heterogeneous entity, fragmented by different interests
          and points of view [26].
            The impetus for this research lies in the perceptions of fishers that operate in the EIMR;
          as reported by Himes [27], overwhelmingly, the EIMR was thought to be a failure. Initial
          informal interviews with local stakeholders also showed that residents, MPA managers,
          and local researchers all hold pessimistic views about the current and future state of the
          MPA. All stakeholders interviewed for this study acknowledged that virtually no
          enforcement of the EIMR’s regulations exists, and that as a result, biological resources
          are being degraded. Fishers added that because little enforcement of the regulations
          occurs, and because the EIMR director and advisory council do not consult with them,
          their confidence in current management is very low. Managers complain that they are not
          given enough resources to properly manage the MPA. Local residents are frustrated
          because the MPA managers have not taken the time to get their input into how the MPA
          should be managed and have not educated locals on the need for the MPA and what the
          regulations are. Researchers also expressed discontent, citing the lack of positive effect that
          the MPA has had on marine organism biomass and overall ecosystem health. Although
          each of these viewpoints leads to the conclusion that the EIMR is not being managed as
          effectively as possible, each group’s reason for citing the EIMR as a failure is based on
          different aspects and expectations of management.
            Assuming the same conclusion can be drawn for stakeholder management preferences,
          the central hypothesis of this research was: MPA stakeholders have objectives and
          preferences that are not congruent between stakeholder groups. To test this, the approach
          taken herein was to have the evaluator (the author) let stakeholders themselves define
          indicators of performance for the EIMR as opposed to using a priori indicators that he/she
          or another researcher has developed through prior experience. Moreover, the evaluator
          was an individual not involved in the general management and use of the protected
          resources so that he/she can give an unbiased report of performance. Concerning the case
          studied in the present research, it was hypothesized that in the EIMR, each stakeholder
          group (e.g., fishers and residents) has unique objectives and preferences regarding how the
          MPA should be managed. In testing this hypothesis, an unbiased evaluator would be able
          to discern problems and the overall performance of the current management design and be
          able to propose appropriate changes.
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