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Who are the key Stakeholders?


What is a Stakeholder?

  • In order for an ecosystem based management plan to be successful, a wide range of stakeholders must be involved and work towards a common goal. A stakeholder is anyone that has an interest in the current topic and wants to participate in the decision making process. This can be people that live or work near a specific ecosystem, those who are interested in an area’s resources for use or nonuse, people who pay bills that are concerned about how their money will be spent, and people who represent citizens or are legally responsible for public resources.[1]

About Stakeholder Involvement

  • While including all potential stakeholders in all aspects of the decision making process is impossible, it is necessary that all who are interested are allowed to participate in ecosystem management. While the inclusion of multiple stakeholders likely means that conflict will occur due to opposing viewpoints, the challenge of effective stakeholder involvement is to help these people understand their common goals and ultimately work together.[2] Public involvement should also include a diversity of representation. This means that stakeholders need to embody the various interests of the community. For example, a management plan concerning a forest should not just include foresters. It should also incorporate recreationists, hunters, local landowners, and scientists just to name a few.[1]

Stakeholders in a Reef Ecosystem

  • Coral reef protected areas should have a management plan where the stakeholders cooperate and work together.[3] The list of stakeholders should include management institutions and external stakeholders which includes government agencies, non-government organizations, and the private sector.[4]

Management Institutions

  • Management Institutions can include local councils or management committees. Their jobs include coordinating implementation of management activities, raising awareness of and enforcing management rules, providing information and training on sustainable resource management, and liaising with as well as monitoring and reporting to stakeholders.[4]

External Stakeholders


  • Government agencies have functions that are relevant to the use, conservation and management of both land and natural resources. This includes agencies such as the Department of Fisheries, Department of Forestry, Department of Environment, and Department of Tourism among others. These departments in particular are responsible for promoting the sustainable use and management of fisheries and forest resources and for promoting environmental protection and sustainable tourism.[4]
  • Non-government organizations often work closely with communities in order to directly promote ecosystem-based management, be able to conduct scientific and social research, and to provide education and raise awareness of issues. This can include groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society whose mission is to conserve wild animals and their habitats, the World Wildlife Fund which aims to conserve biological diversity while promoting sustainable use of natural resources, and Coral Reef Alliance which provides communities with the necessary tools to save coral reefs.[4]
  • The private sector also plays a role in management. They can assist with monitoring of management activities as well as enforce management rules. For example, dive operators play an active role in the preservation of coral reefs by educating their divers and reporting any unauthorized fishing activity.[4]
  • Other important stakeholders include the public whose opinions drives policy and can help shape management plans, scientists whose research can inform others as to the state of the coral reefs, businesses which may have some interest in resources provided by the reef ecosystem, recreational facilities such as a golf course that may rely on aesthetic or other properties of a reef, and the tourism industry which needs to maintain the quality of reef ecosystems so that divers and kayakers can continue to enjoy them.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Meffe, Gary K. Ecosystem management adaptive, community-based conservation. Washington, D.C: Island Press, 2002. Print.
  2. Jupiter, S.D., et al. (2011). Ecosystem-Based Management in Fiji: Successes and Challenges after Five Years of Implementation. Journal of Marine Biology. 1-14.
  3. Tilmant, James. Coral Reef Protected Areas: A Guide for Management. Prepared by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Working Group on Ecosystem Science and Conservation. March, 2000.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 WCS (2009) Ecosystem‐Based Management Plan: Kubulau District, Vanua Levu, Fiji, Wildlife Conservation Society, Suva, Fiji.
  5. Hartley, T.W., et al. (2006). Stakeholder Engagement, Cooperative Fisheries, Research and Democratic Science: The Case of the Northeast Consortium. Human Ecology Review. 13:161-177.
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