University Of Tasmania

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Social licence for marine protected areas

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 02:47 authored by Rachel KellyRachel Kelly, Aysha FlemingAysha Fleming, Mary MackayMary Mackay, Carolina Garcia Imhof, Gretta PeclGretta Pecl

The marine environment is a shared public resource and successful marine conservation depends on stakeholder approval and support. The concept of social licence reflects community expectations and support of the use and management of natural resources, and is being increasingly applied in the marine context. Here, support and opposition to marine protected areas are investigated through the frame of social licence. This study explores the perceptions of key marine stakeholders from Tasmania, Australia to improve understanding on social licence for marine protected areas. A combination of Q-methodology and semi-structured interviews are applied to identify how social licence exists and can potentially be developed in practice. Two social perspectives are identified, 1) I use the ocean: MPAs are not the solution, and 2) No one listens: we need MPAs to protect the ocean, that reveal social licence is not a support/oppose outcome and that more nuanced understanding and dialogue around stakeholder engagement and perceptions of the ocean are required. These study outcomes are developed to provide a modern example of marine resource use debate, and to reveal novel insights that can advise marine managers, decision-makers, and stakeholders dealing with marine conflict and opposition in Australia and elsewhere.


Publication title

Marine Policy



Article number









Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments