Key steps for operationalizing social-ecological system framework research in small-scale fisheries: A heuristic conceptual approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Conducting social-ecological system (SES) research in fisheries aimed at aiding the implementation of a management plan that achieves sustainable outcomes remains a significant challenge. Using the Ostrom (2009) [1] diagnostic SES framework is widely utilized and acknowledged as an integral tool for research on SESs. The purpose of this article is to highlight and illustrate a comprehensive and holistic protocol for operationalizing SES framework research and development for adaptively managing small-scale fisheries. The conceptual approach, displayed in an illustrative framework, and article structure are framed around the following six key steps: (1) contextually updating the SES framework, (2) classify the fishery with the updated framework, (3) indentify and analyze data gaps and as many system component interactions as possible, (4) recognize multiple outcomes, (5) develop an adaptive management plan, and (6) implement the management plan and monitor the system. The illustrative conceptual approach additionally integrates stakeholder involvement and system feedbacks. The implementation and support for each step is elaborated on along with exemplary literature relating to the specific case studies. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Stefan Partelow
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Sustainability, Adaptive management, Stakeholder involvement, Feedbacks, Multiple outcomes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-511
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch