A multi-criteria framework for the sustainable management of fisheries: a case study of UK's North Sea Scottish fisheries

Negar Akbari*, Trond Bjørndal, Pierre Failler, Andy Forse, Marc H. Taylor, Ben Drakeford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In this paper a sustainability framework with a case application for UK’s Scottish fisheries has been developed which integrates aspects related to economic growth, social development, governance , biology, environment, and logistics. Scotland is the centre of UK’s commercial fishery sector however it faces challenges such as overexploitation, and changes in the governance structure following Brexit. The contributions of this study are threefold including i) collecting and analysing primary data gathered from a diverse group of stakeholders in the Scottish fishery sector and scientific community, ii) prioritising a diverse range of criteria in terms of importance in decision making from industry and scientific community perspectives, iii) elaboration of the key management objectives in this region within the context of sustainable management of fisheries in the UK. The results of this stakeholders’ survey show that the key management objectives are reductions in overexploitation of stocks, inclusive governance, increase in transparency and simplicity of policy measures, reduction in marine litter, and increase in the efficiency of vessels. The analysis also shows that the industry group places a higher importance on socio-economic objectives such as increase in profit and employment compared to the scientific group. On the other hand, the scientific group prioritised the objectives such as reducing discards, bycatch and impact on seafloor compared to the industry group. This study provides insight for the UK’s fisheries sector, and scientific advisory groups for the enhanced implementation of sustainable fisheries management policies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Management
Early online date15 Mar 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 15 Mar 2022


  • Sustainable Fisheries Management
  • multi-criteria analysis
  • Scottish fisheries
  • Brexit
  • North Sea


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