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                          A.H. Himes / Ocean & Coastal Management 50 (2007) 329–351  333
          of economic efficiency and the maximization of economic rent in resource extraction
          activities. Charles argues that the fishing industry is also aligned with this paradigm.
            Finally, the third vertex describes the social-community paradigm. This paradigm is
          generally supported by social scientists, members of the local community, and individuals
          and organizations directly affected by resource management institutions. The general
          priorities of these groups tend to be the overall well-being of society and the equitable
          distribution of the benefits achieved from the institution. This paradigm gives particular
          weight to the concepts of collective rights to resources, community-based management,
          and co-management [29,30].
            While Charles’ framework can be used to conceptualize a number of problems present in
          fisheries and MPA management, Boncoeur and Mesnil [30] suggest that the border
          between the three paradigms is inconsistent and ambiguous. Concerning the conservation
          and rationalization paradigms, they propose that one cannot pursue one objective without
          taking into consideration components of the others. As an example, they cite the objective
          of profit maximization. While seemingly economic in nature, one ‘‘cannot disregard the
          renewable character (within finite boundaries) of fish resources’’ and the resulting issues of
          conservation that develop from the attempt to maximize economic rent drawn from a
          given fishery, particularly in the long term [30]. They also cite the ambiguous nature of the
          geographical, professional, and social limits of the term ‘community.’ Depending on how
          the ‘community’ is defined, different value judgments may be made in considering the
          notion of well-being and how different individuals are weighted in the consideration of
          assuring that conservation and economic benefits are equitably divided.
            Recognizing these inconsistencies and the ambiguous nature of some of the terminology
          used, Boncouer and Mesnil [30] propose that in reality, resource management perceptions
          and initiatives are rarely at one of the extremes of the triangle, but instead represent a
          combination of two or more of Charles’ paradigms. Wattage et al. [28] furthers this theory
          by suggesting that by recognizing the differences in the paradigms supported by various
          stakeholder groups, conflicts can be minimized and result in better performing manage-
          ment institutions. They explain that ‘‘a major factor in conflicts between interest groups is
          caused by a lack of understanding of the importance of objectives held by the various
          interest groups involved. An explicit appreciation of the objectives of the different groups
          would facilitate negotiations between the stakeholders resulting in more desirable
          compromise solutions being achieved’’ [28]. This is especially true in MPAs where a large
          number and diverse range of interest groups exists, from commercial and recreational
          fishers to local residents, researchers and even tourists. Therefore, the use of approaches to
          assess stakeholder preferences for increasing management effectiveness and in decision-
          making arenas is exceptionally relevant.

          3. Study area

            The EIMR, situated off the northwest coast of Sicily in the central Mediterranean,
          constitutes the largest functional MPA in the Mediterranean Sea. The EIMR was
          established by Italian national law in 1991. Covering a total of 53,992 ha, the EIMR
          stretches westward from the coastal town of Trapani surrounding the three populated
          islands of Favignana, Marettimo, and Levanzo, and two rocky outcroppings (Fig. 2). In
          most cases, the establishment of MPAS in Italy was done bureaucratically at the Ministry
          of the Environment in Rome with the only input being from local governments and high
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