Concerns about marine protected area (MPA) ecological and social effectiveness have led to a growing interest in conducting management evaluations. The variety of stakeholder interests and needs calls into question the typical notion of MPA 'success' and suggests that managers need a practical set of techniques to measure performance and evaluate trade-offs. This study explores how success can be analyzed from the compilation of differing stakeholder viewpoints. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with stakeholders to explore the state of an Italian MPA, selection of performance indicators to evaluate the MPA, and whether it can be deemed a success according to those indicators. The results show that stakeholder groups hold significantly different preferences for biological, economic and socio-cultural performance indicators in judging MPA performance. The elicitation of stakeholder preferences here is an important first step in understanding the criteria through which stakeholders view MPA management. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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